MAYOR BRONIN REACHES AGREEMENT WITH HARTFORD FIREFIGHTER’S UNION
HARTFORD, CONN. (DECEMBER 19, 2016) – Mayor Luke Bronin today announced the details of a four-year agreement with Hartford Fire Fighters Association, Local 706 that will save the City of Hartford more than $3.5 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017 and larger amounts in the years that follow. The agreement, which was ratified by union membership on Friday, December 16, 2016 and which will now be submitted to City Council for approval, will replace the current contract, which expired on June 30, 2016, and will extend until June 30, 2020.
“I commend the Hartford Fire Union for recognizing the severity and the urgency of our fiscal crisis, and for doing their part to help put Hartford on the path to fiscal health. This agreement will save the City of Hartford millions of dollars in each of the next four years, and makes some very significant structural changes to reduce long-term liabilities. At a time when Hartford faces intense fiscal pressure, I’m proud that we were able to work together to sign a serious, responsible agreement for Hartford and its taxpayers,” said Mayor Bronin.
Key provisions of the four-year agreement include:
• No wage increases for four years
• A 70% increase in annual employee contributions into the pension fund
• Substantial changes to health care plan design, shifting from a costly Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan to a high-deductible plan with health savings account
• For current employees with less than ten years of service, an increase in the years of service required for retirement from 20 years to 25 years
• Substantial increases in employee share of health care premium costs
• Dramatic reduction in City’s exposure for funding retiree healthcare after age 65
In addition, for new hires the agreement:
• Caps future pensions at 70 percent of employees’ base pay (overtime pay is not factored into earnings for pension)
• Reduces salaries by approximately 10% across the board
• Effectively eliminates the city’s liability for funding retiree health care
"We reached a settlement that protects the safety of our members and the citizens and visitors of Hartford, but delivers a savings to the city. In the economic times that we're in, we've always done our part," said Vincent Fusco.
The City of Hartford remains in negotiation or arbitration with all of its other municipal employee unions. If Hartford’s other municipal employee unions were to agree to changes similar to those agreed upon with the Hartford Fire Fighters Association, the City of Hartford would save nearly $12 million in the upcoming Fiscal Year, with savings increasing in each subsequent year.
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MAYOR BRONIN: HARTFORD ZONING CODE WINS 5 MAJOR AWARDS FOR PRIORITIZING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
HARTFORD, CONN. (DECEMBER 8, 2016) – Today, Mayor Luke Bronin announced that Hartford’s recently re-drafted zoning code has received five major awards in recognition of its innovative provisions that prioritize both economic development and environmental sustainability.
“Our new zoning code makes Hartford a true leader in smart, sustainable growth, where developers can count on a clear, predictable and forward-looking code that makes it easy to invest here in Hartford," said Mayor Bronin. "We're proud that Hartford's new commitment to being a development-friendly, smart, sustainable city has been recognized through these five major awards."
In January 2016, for the first time in fifty years, the zoning regulations of Hartford were comprehensively revised by the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission. The Commission passed the code unanimously, after receiving input from hundreds of residents and stakeholders over a period of three years. The new code targets economic growth, prioritizes environmental sustainability, improves transportation access and mobility, and enhances food security.
“It is so exciting for our community to be recognized for our hard work,” said Sara C. Bronin, Chair of the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission. “We know that economic development and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand, and I hope that Hartford residents and businesses will benefit from this code for years to come.”
The Capital Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) awarded the City of Hartford its 2016 Sustainability Award. Lyle Wray, executive director of CRCOG, praised the new code as “a model for other cities prioritizing sustainability, carbon footprint reduction, and resilience to improve energy use, and air and water quality.”
The zoning code also earned three statewide awards:
Finally, the Boston-based New England Chapter of the Congress of New Urbanism – representing six states – honored the City of Hartford as one of five recipients of its 2016 Urbanism Award, stating: “The sheer amount of work that went into this project is mind-boggling—and the result is a plan that allows for mixed-use developments that would have been impossible under conventional zoning.”
“These awards recognize that Hartford is open for business,” said Sean Fitzpatrick, Director of the City Department of Development Services. “The real reward will be sustained, long-term growth for Hartford, which is now possible with this code.”
This announcement comes on the heels of Hartford’s recognition as a Bike-Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists – a designation secured in part by the zoning code’s innovative provisions on bicycle-related amenities.
MAYOR BRONIN THANKS MEMBERS OF THE COMMON COUNCIL AND MEMBERS OF THE COMPLETE STREETS WORKING GROUP FOR WORKING WITH HIM TO PASS THE COMPLETE STREETS ORDINANCE
HARTFORD, CONN. (SEPTEMBER 28, 2016) — Today, Mayor Bronin thanks members of the Court of Common Council and members of the Complete Streets Working Group for working with him on the Complete Streets Ordinance that passed on September 12, 2016.
Complete Streets are streets designed, operated, and maintained to ensure safe travel for users of all ages and abilities, whether they are walking, bicycling, driving, or taking transit. The Hartford ordinance requires City departments to work toward creating a Complete Streets network in Hartford by making design and maintenance decisions on all rights of way in accordance with Complete Streets principles, developing a Complete Streets Plan, and better coordinating with utility companies and others who do work on City streets.
The ordinance also enhances and expands upon the Complete Streets principles already enshrined in Hartford’s award-winning new zoning code and requires the City to designate a Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator who oversees these efforts.
“This ordinance positions Hartford as a leader in its efforts to create a healthier, more walkable city in which to live, work, and play,” said Mayor Bronin. “I’m grateful to the members of the Complete Streets Working Group, who worked for many months to design a thoughtful and progressive set of policies, and grateful also to the City Council for their partnership in this effort. We want Hartford’s streets to be safe and accessible for all users, whether they’re in a car, on a bike, or on foot.”
According to the National Complete Streets Coalition, Hartford joins the ranks of Stamford (CT) and just 30 other American cities with over 100,000 persons – including Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, and Philadelphia – to adopt a Complete Streets ordinance. Many other cities have adopted non-binding resolutions, policies, executive orders, or design plans.
Common Council Member Julio A. Concepción applauded the initiative, saying, "City Council is excited to support the City’s new Complete Streets Ordinance. Not only will a more pedestrian- and bike-friendly Hartford provide safer streets for residents and visitors, but it should better connect our neighborhoods and lead to a more vibrant and economically thriving Capital City."
Hartford’s Complete Streets Policy was initially drafted by the Complete Streets Working Group, now chaired by City of Hartford Principal Planner Sandra Fry, who also serves as the City’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator under the new ordinance. Other members of the working group have included representatives of the Capitol Region Council of Governments, Travelers, the Greater Hartford Transit District, Hartford Public Schools, the iQuilt Plan, Bike Walk CT, the East Coast Greenway, the BiCi Co. program of the Center for Latino Progress, various City departments, various City Council members’ staff, and many other private and nonprofit entities.
"The Complete Streets policy, in combination with the recently updated zoning regulations, moves our city forward in designing for healthy, active transportation and transit,” said Tony Cherolis, the coordinator of the BiCi Co. program and a member of the Complete Streets Working Group. "Our residents — including those who already use active transportation and those with limited household budgets — will benefit from safer and more convenient mobility."
The principles of the Complete Streets policy include:
• Making the public right of way safer and more inviting for all users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, and those taking transit or driving, by reducing the frequency and severity of vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian-related crashes and by designing and managing streets to encourage travel at appropriate volumes and safe speeds that will achieve, to the extent possible, “Vision Zero” principles to eliminate traffic-related fatalities
• Improving and enhancing the health, wellness, and physical fitness of the city’s residents by providing more safe, convenient and accessible opportunities for bicycling and walking
• Improving the city’s quality of life and local economy by providing a high-quality, multi-modal transportation network that connects neighborhoods to places of employment, shopping, entertainment, social gathering, outdoor seating, historic assets, off-road pathways (such as those in public parks), and recreational opportunities
To view more information that Mayor Bronin submitted to the Court of Common Council, click here.
MAYOR BRONIN LAUNCHES “DON’T BLOCK THE BOX” CAMPAIGN TO CRACK DOWN ON DRIVERS WHO BLOCK INTERSECTIONS
HARTFORD, CONN. (SEPTEMBER 29, 2016) – Today, Mayor Luke Bronin launched a “Don’t Block the Box” campaign to crack down on drivers who block intersections. The campaign includes enhanced awareness and enforcement of a law that prohibits drivers from entering an intersection when they will not be able to make it through before the light turns red.
“When drivers ‘block the box’ and jam up an intersection, they’re tying up a whole city and putting pedestrians at risk,” Mayor Bronin said. “This pilot program will help eliminate gridlock, keep traffic moving and make city streets safer for pedestrians. I applaud Council Chairman Clarke and Majority Leader Concepción, as well as the Hartford Police Department, for taking the lead to get this done.”
In 2009, Connecticut’s General Assembly passed – and then Gov. Jodi Rell signed into law – An Act Prohibiting Blocking the Box, allowing any municipality to adopt an ordinance prohibiting motor vehicles from stopping in a designated intersection and blocking the passage of other vehicles or pedestrians.
In 2016, Hartford’s City Council – working with Mayor Bronin and the Hartford Police Department – adopted an ordinance designating several intersections as “Don’t Block the Box” locations, subjecting violators to a $117 fine. Hartford Police will be monitoring intersections and ticketing drivers who violate the law, and the city will receive 50 percent of fees collected from offenders, excluding administrative costs.
"As always, our number one concern is safety, and that includes keeping our streets safe by maintaining the flow of traffic," said Council President TJ Clarke. "That's why the message we're sending today is simple: if you 'Block the Box,' you'll get a ticket. No matter what vehicle you're driving, you'll get ticketed, period."
“This campaign is aimed at educating commuters by increasing awareness of the dangers of blocking a busy intersection,” said City Council Majority Leader Julio Majority Leader Concepción. “By 'Blocking the Box,' not only are drivers increasing congestion, but they’re also causing a real safety concern for pedestrians and bicyclists alike. We hope this campaign serves as a small step in improving the City’s quality of life, all while keeping residents and visitors safe.”
To date, Hartford has marked the following intersections as “Don’t Block the Box” locations:
Four additional intersections are planned to become “Don’t Block the Box” locations before this winter begins, including:
“Hartford residents should feel safe while crossing the street,” added Mayor Bronin. “Stepping up enforcement of existing traffic laws will decrease congestion, improve air quality, and create better conditions for pedestrians across the city, most notably kids, seniors, and mobility impaired.”