HARTFORD, Conn. (April 20, 2016) – This week, Moody’s Investors Service announced that it has assigned a downgraded rating to the City of Hartford. This serves as the second downgrade from the rating agency in the past 10 months. The announcement also comes on the heels of Standard & Poor’s assigning the state’s capital city with a downgraded rating last month.
“We’ve been anticipating and are not surprised by Moody’s rating downgrade,” Mayor Bronin said. “The rating agencies are looking at the same numbers we are, and we’ve been very open and transparent about Hartford’s severe fiscal challenges. This rating action should serve as one more indication that we need to tackle our challenges head-on and act quickly to make the changes necessary to get our city on a path to fiscal health.”
Moody’s noted that the City of Hartford’s outlook remains negative. The rating agency said that the negative outlook reflects its expectation that the city will remain challenged to restore and maintain fiscal stability given its limited revenue raising ability, elevated fixed cost burden, and a reliance on non-recurring revenue sources. The outlook also incorporates the city's significant reliance on state aid, which could adversely impact the city.
• Click here to read more on Moody’s credit opinion: http://bit.ly/1pgDl2P.
Despite the downgrade, the ratings agency mentioned Mayor Bronin’s FY2017 budget proposal, highlighting that it benefits from state aid, cost savings, relies on employee concessions, reductions in workforce, and various departmental cuts. In addition, Moody’s states that the proposal uses one-time measures to a lesser extent than past budgets to address operational challenges.
“None of the proposed cuts are easy,” said Mayor Bronin. “This budget makes the cuts we can responsibly make, while continuing to deliver vital services to the residents of our city. We need to get serious about finding sustainable savings.”
• Click here to read Mayor Bronin’s budget proposal for FY2017: http://bit.ly/1MFmB0q.
During his budget process, Mayor Bronin has highlighted that even with the deep cuts and substantial labor concessions included in his recommended budget, Hartford will continue to face dire fiscal challenges, including a projected deficit of at least $30 million in FY2018.
“If we are going to be a healthy city that is delivering basic city services and investing in our future, there is a limit to the cuts that can be made and there is a limit to the tax revenue our small city can support,” said Mayor Bronin. “We’re going to do everything we can to get our house in order, but we must also build a statewide and regional consensus that Hartford’s success matters to the entire state, because our looming fiscal challenges are bigger than we can overcome alone.”
MAYOR BRONIN APPLAUDS CITY COUNCIL FOR URGING ACTION ON FAIR CHANCE EMPLOYMENT
MAYOR BRONIN HERALDS COUNCIL ACTION AS A STRONG MESSAGE DURING NATIONAL REENTRY WEEK
Hartford, Conn. (April 26, 2016)— Today, Mayor Luke Bronin applauded the Hartford City Council for passing a resolution urging state legislators to support passage of An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment (HB 5237). Also known as a “ban the box” measure, the bill seeks to prevent employers from requiring individual employees — or prospective employees — to disclose any criminal history until the employer has made a conditional offer of employment to such employee or prospective employee.
“When an employee is otherwise qualified, a past mistake — especially those unrelated to the nature of the job they're seeking — should not bar them from employment,” said Mayor Bronin. “This bill recognizes that past mistakes, particularly those mistakes made during youth, should not be a permanent barrier to employment. The Fair Chance Employment Act aims to strengthen Hartford’s efforts to reduce crime by promoting second chances for individuals with criminal records. The City Council’s support sends a strong message as we recognize National Reentry Week.”
Click here for more information on HB 5237: http://1.usa.gov/1VP5lcE.
One-in-three American adults have some criminal record, according to the Center for American Progress. And a conviction record reduces the likelihood of a follow-up interview or job offer by nearly one-half, according to the Council of State Governments.
Research shows that fair chance employment policies are also good for business. The decreased output of goods and services from those with criminal records results in an estimated $57 to $65 billion in losses to our national economy annually, according to a Center for Economic and Policy Research study.
Nationwide, more than 100 cities — including Hartford — and counties, as well as more than 20 states, have adopted “ban the box” policies to encourage employers to put a candidate’s qualifications first. At the federal level, President Barack Obama backed a “ban-the-box” policy in directing federal agencies to wait until later in the hiring process to look into job applicants’ records.
“We believe everyone deserves a second chance and a person’s prior mistakes should not automatically disqualify them from receiving an employment offer, let alone an interview,” said City Council President Thomas J. Clarke II. “Everyone should receive a fair and equal chance in obtaining a job and we hope our state lawmakers share the same sentiments.”
Beginning Monday April 18th Ford Street will be closed to westbound traffic due to construction activities related to the Bushnell Park North project. Detours will be in place to route westbound traffic around the construction zone. Eastbound traffic will be maintained on Ford Street during construction.
(April 13, 2016) — The City of Hartford, Constellation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, and Bloom Energy announced the start of construction for a microgrid system powered by fuel cells that will help manage electricity costs and supply emergency power to a portion of the city’s Parkville neighborhood.
During non-emergency operation, the 800-kilowatt microgrid system is designed to provide 100 percent of the electricity for Parkville Elementary School, Dwight Branch Library, Parkville Senior Center and Charter Oak Health Center. In the event of an electrical grid outage, the system will provide emergency power to these locations in addition to a local fuel station and grocery store. Excess electricity generated by the system will reduce electricity costs at four local schools: Bulkeley High School, Hartford High School, Weaver High School and the Sport and Medical Sciences Academy.
“When the power goes out elsewhere, our state-of-the-art microgrid will keep the power running at a senior center, library branch, school, health center, supermarket and gas station,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. “In addition, the clean energy produced by the fuel cells will result in cost savings for the City of Hartford. That’s a win-win for our city — and we hope to build on this model elsewhere in Hartford.”
Constellation is providing engineering, procurement, construction and operation services for the microgrid system. Powered by Bloom Energy fuel cells, the electricity generated will be purchased by the city at or below current market rates through a 15-year power purchase agreement.
“As a competitive energy supplier and a strong advocate of customer choice and innovation, Constellation aims to provide flexibility and support for our customers who require distributed generation and other dedicated energy technologies as part of their overall energy strategy,” said Gary Fromer, senior vice president of distributed energy at Constellation. “We applaud the City of Hartford for its commitment to microgrid development and the state of Connecticut for creating the public-private initiatives that help make projects like this possible.”
"Bloom Energy is proud to be a part of this innovative public-private partnership with Constellation and the City of Hartford,” said Josh Richman, vice president global business development & policy at Bloom Energy. "This microgrid project and others like it would not be possible without the state of Connecticut’s support."
The project is Connecticut’s first to be developed thorough a public-private effort and one of the first implemented through Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) Microgrid Grant Program. Additionally, the project is part of the state’s Low-Emission Renewable Energy Credits Program, which enables participants to sell qualified Connecticut Class I renewable energy credits (RECs) created from renewable projects to the local utility under a long-term contract.
“The Parkville microgrid is a perfect example of the positive impact we can have on our communities and residents through innovative and creative approaches to the energy challenges we face,” said Commissioner Robert Klee, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “This microgrid will help reduce energy costs for the City of Hartford and its school system, in addition to providing power to maintain important services for people when the electric grid goes down. We are pleased that DEEP’s microgrid grant program and other energy initiatives helped make this impressive project possible.”
GI Energy initially worked with the City of Hartford to develop the project and submit the project for consideration to the state’s microgrid program.
The microgrid system is scheduled for completion during the third quarter of 2016.
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Constellation is a leading competitive retail supplier of power, natural gas and energy products and services for homes and businesses across the continental United States. Constellation's family of retail businesses serves approximately 2 million residential, public sector and business customers, including more than two-thirds of the Fortune 100. Baltimore-based Constellation is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation's leading competitive energy provider, with 2015 revenues of approximately $34.5 billion, and more than 32,700 megawatts of owned capacity comprising one of the nation's cleanest and lowest-cost power generation fleets. Learn more at www.constellation.com or on Twitter at @ConstellationEG.
About Bloom Energy
Bloom Energy is a provider of a revolutionary on-site power generation system called the Bloom Energy Server® based on proprietary fuel cell technology that provides 24x7 firm power that is reliable, clean and cost effective. With nearly 200 MW deployed, Bloom Energy Servers produce power for companies including Apple, Wal-Mart, AT&T, eBay and FedEx, as well as notable non-profit organizations such as Caltech and Kaiser Permanente. Also, with its Mission Critical Systems practice, Bloom Energy provides grid-independent power for critical loads in data centers and manufacturing. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. For more information, visit www.bloomenergy.com.