On the eve of the city council's meeting to begin deliberations on Mayor Eddie A. Perez's $547.6 million budget and its hefty homeowner tax increase, some of the city's unions offered possible concessions Monday - but only if they get labor guarantees and information first.
"The requests for givebacks are entirely one-sided; we have not been provided with any commitments regarding job security or with any employee enhancements in exchange for our aid now in helping resolve the alleged financial difficulty," reads the letter from the Hartford Public Services Coalition. If "we are going to be partners, then we must be treated like partners."
The council begins its deliberations today at noon at city hall.
"I'm trying to keep the faith that the unions and the administration can come to terms," said Councilman Pedro Segarra, the council's budget chairman. "If that doesn't happen, it's going to get a little bit tricky."
Tricky, Segarra said, because the more than $6 million that the council has asked the unions to find is a "big hole to patch up." With no agreement between the city and the unions, the council will have to find other ways to cut - and Segarra said he doesn't know where that will lead.
"It could go days," said Councilman Matt Ritter of the debate that begins today. "Last year we went in there with a game plan. This year, it's very hard to have a game plan because of the depth of the cuts and the bottom line and you have nine people with their own beliefs and opinions on what should be cut first and what should be cut last."