Some on the council have consolidation on the brain.
At a budget hearing Tuesday night, it began when Councilman Kenneth Kennedy used the "consolidation" word, asking city Chief Operating Officer Lee Erdmann if there were any departments that could be combined to save money. Erdmann said there were not.
"We have a very lean operation already," Erdmann said.
Others on the council, though, picked up where Kennedy left off. Councilman Matt Ritter said that while, in a perfect world, it might be best to not consolidate - this isn't a perfect world.
"Taxpayers cannot afford this," Ritter said, saying Mayor Eddie A. Perez's proposed budget includes an unprecedented tax hike.
Minority Leader Larry Deutsch drew a parallel. You wouldn't have one department of cars and another of trains, would you? No, he said. You'd have one department of transportation. It's more efficient. That's what the city should do in various departments, he said.
And Councilman Luis Cotto picked up after Deutsch, saying "the best way to serve our residents is to have a parks and recreation department." Right now, parks and recreation are split between two other city departments.
The council heard from the Office for Youth Services, the Office for Young Children, and the Hartford Parking Authority. On tap for Wednesday: Internal Audit, MetroHartford Information Systems, and the Department of Public Works.