Despite a still faltering economy and a looming budget crisis (what's new?) on the state and city level, Mayor Pedro Segarra was upbeat about the the city of Hartford's prospects for 2013.
Starting off the new year in a really positive fashion, the Mayor cut the ribbon for the new public safety facility on Wednesday, reversing the terrible public policy mistake of putting our police department next to a landfill, well beyond most citizen's access. For years, a towed car meant a trip to nowhere. How much time, gas and wasted effort was used up and tied up going back and forth to the North (far North) meadows?
To conservative Republicans, like your reporter, the emphasis on self-reliance and economic growth was refreshing. We remember when a mayor in the 1980's thought more social service lumped on the city was like foreign aid and that "transfer payments" were bulwarks of city development.
New housing units, better crime stats, planning grants, streetscapes, a new staff off and running - all harbingers of a good start for the new year. Mayor Segarra is proud of his administrative efforts to keep the mill rate steady and increase the fund balance (savings account). Again, music to these ears.
However, challenges are certain to come. Sandra Kee Borges will have quite a task patching together a budget for 2013-2014. Taxes cannot go up if we expect any development and most departments are understaffed. The market is not right for the sale of any assets yet and major additions to the grand list are still in the future.
Anyway, we've been through budget crisis before and somehow we slip through. The most important point of the Mayor's presentation was that progress has been made and we can expect more in the foreseeable future. His emphasis on growth and self-reliance was a crowd pleaser, rightly so.