In anticipation of a hotly contested battle for virtually every dollar of funding in the state’s upcoming budget, Mayor Pedro Segarra has drawn up a specific set of goals for the city in the current session of the legislature. Segarra announced his priorities earlier this week.
These priorities are built around two facts. First, because Hartford has so many nonprofit organizations, hospitals and state buildings, more than half of its property is tax-exempt. This is a serious problem, since Hartford, like all Connecticut towns, depends on the property tax for the bulk of its revenue.
Second, Segarra said Hartford, “is a Sanctuary City – not just by designation but by virtue of its willingness to welcome and assist those in need. While we embrace that reputation, we must also have the appropriate resources and regulations that enable Hartford to sustain that commitment.”
In recognition of these two facts, Segarra is asking state lawmakers to pass legislation that “promotes social business enterprise, fully funds PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) and more keenly governs and oversees the creation of nonprofit entities.”
Segarra is also calling on the legislature to continue funding education reform, especially early childhood and special education.
On a more specific level, Segarra is backing a drive to extend producer responsibility for disposal of their products, particularly a law that would require manufacturers to pay for proper mattress disposal. Hartford spent nearly $180K to dispose of approximately 18,000 mattresses in 2011; many of those mattresses are dumped illegally by residents of surrounding towns to avoid paying disposal fees.
Other items on the Mayor’s legislative agenda are:
• Approval of red light cameras.
• Requiring the Department of Correction to provide monthly notification of individuals released on probation or parole to municipal Police Chiefs and Chief Elected Officers.
• Creation of a State-operated domestic violence and aggravated assault database.
• Allowing a municipality to provide for abatement of property taxes for smallbusinesses for a period of up to 3 years