(May 28, 2015) Mayor Pedro E. Segarra, City Council President Shawn T. Wooden and the Hartford City Council today announced that they have agreed to a $533.8 million budget for Fiscal Year 2016 that includes no mill rate increase, no reduction in essential city services and no reduction in education funding. Mayor Segarra and the Council worked collaboratively to close a more than $40 million budget gap and to continue to fund top priorities in public safety, economic development and infrastructure improvements to streets and sidewalks.
“We have worked hard to produce a fiscally prudent budget that doesn’t burden taxpayers and protects community safety, public education, job growth, economic development and quality of life for our residents,” said Mayor Segarra. “This budget reflects what we feel are responsible answers to tough decisions that impact the day-to-day lives of residents, including our most vulnerable residents, while protecting our future.”
Council President Wooden said, “Every year we have a really hard budget to produce and extremely difficult choices to make. The Council has been steadfast in avoiding a mill rate increase while maintaining the quality of services to the community. I’m proud that we’ve achieved these goals while incorporating important Council priorities in this budget.”
The FY2016 budget, which takes effect on July 1, funds several important initiatives, including:
To help balance the budget for FY2016, the City will restructure certain existing debt obligations, use a portion of its health benefits fund balance, and reduce departmental expenses by over $10 million. A portion of the City’s health benefits fund balance will be used to fund $19.3 million of the Board of Education’s Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) future liability. The adoption of a balanced budget is the most significant annual policy action for any level of government.
(May 27, 2015) Mayor Pedro E. Segarra today announced that representatives from the Obama Administration, as well as Connecticut’s federal delegation, state representatives and city officials will announce the winners of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Hartford Challenge during a ceremony on Friday, May 29, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Out of the remaining 10 teams competing in the SC2 Hartford Challenge, six will be selected based on the highest scores for economic development plans for the City of Hartford. The six winning teams will share $800,000 in prize money, with the top plan receiving $500,000.
(May 20, 2015) As part of the Hartford City Council’s response to Mayor Pedro E. Segarra’s recommended budget, Council President Shawn T. Wooden proposed the creation of a citywide youth sports program to be administered jointly by the City and Hartford Public Schools. This program would be managed by a newly-created Athletic Director position. On Wednesday, the City Council unanimously voted to allocate $90,000 for program management and requested that Hartford Public Schools cooperate in creating the program. If implemented, this would be the first comprehensive citywide youth sports program in the capital city.
Additionally, the City Council has requested the formation of a working group, led by Mayor Segarra and the Superintendent of Schools, to develop a plan of implementation and operation for the program by August 5, 2015. The proposal recommends leveraging publicly-owned athletic facilities and nonprofits and community groups providing recreational services.
“I am excited about creating opportunities for our city youth to participate in organized sports programs,” said Council President Wooden. “For too long, the City has not properly utilized or coordinated its physical assets to maximize such opportunities for all city youth. Implementing this proposal will dramatically expand the safe and healthy opportunities for the City to nurture well-rounded students. Study after study show that students who participate in sports do better academically than students not participating. I’d like to thank Hartford native and Classical Magnet High School teacher Brian Gallagher for the considerable work he put in to initiate this proposal. I look forward to the Board of Education’s cooperation in making this a reality.”
(May 19, 2015) The Obama Administration has named Hartford as one of 10 cities that have made “real progress” in community policing since the December 2014 launch of the 21st Century Policing Task Force, charged with examining how to foster strong relationships between local law enforcement and the communities they serve. The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA), acknowledged the City of Hartford’s newly announced Public Safety Initiative, a collaborative effort to recruit young Hartford residents into public safety careers. The City of Hartford’s Public Safety Initiative directly addresses several recommendations outlined in a final report by the task force, including to:
The initiative is one component of Hartford’s community policing efforts including Project Longevity, Community Conversations, the Police Athletic League and several faith-based initiatives.
“We consider the Public Safety Initiative to be a long-term solution, one that also addresses the challenge of unemployment by preparing our young students for careers in public safety. We also need to continue policing ourselves, and create as many opportunities for positive interactions with our law enforcement as possible. The more we work together the safer our City will be,” said Mayor Pedro E. Segarra.
“The City of Hartford isn’t just creating a program; it is establishing legislation to ensure future administrations guide young residents toward careers in public safety for years to come. This is a model that deserves national attention,” Councilman Kenneth H. Kennedy, Jr., said.
“Community policing is something we have been working on for years. The more people involved in our efforts, the stronger our police department will be and the better our City will be,” said Police Chief James C. Rovella.
“Our initiative is an innovative approach to community policing. We’re helping Hartford residents find employment while simultaneously helping our police and fire departments reflect the communities they serve,” said Council President Shawn T. Wooden.
The City’s Public Safety Initiative has four components; outreach and recruitment, a five-week summer program for a minimum of 45 students, an extended year program and a post-secondary program. An ordinance establishing the initiative was referred to the Quality of Life and Public Safety Committee by the City Council.
For more information on the “10 Cities Making Real Progress Since the Launch of the 21st Century Policing Task Force,” click here.