Council Says It Will Cut $1.75 Million From Budget
Members Say They Want To Lower Hartford's Tax Rate
May 16, 2011
City council members said they want to lower the city's tax rate for the 2011-12 fiscal year by cutting as much as $1.75 million from Mayor Pedro Segarra's budget.
The cuts would reduce the city's tax rate by half a mill, from 72.79 to 72.29 mills. A mill equals $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property.
The council has until May 21 to amend the mayor's $547.7 million budget. It is scheduled to meet Tuesday at noon to discuss and possibly vote on the amendments.
Council members said they are looking to cut about $500,000 from the police overtime account, $110,000 from the corporation counsel's settlement account and $90,000 from the city council account. They also plan to eliminate two positions from the police department. Council members have also identified about $750,000 in savings in the area of employee health and benefits.
The police department is installing a new computer system to more closely track police overtime, the council members said, which would make costs easier to control and generate savings.
Segarra's budget, released last month, raises spending by $3.25 million, or 0.6 percent, over the current fiscal year and requires no layoffs. It also keeps the tax rate at 72.79 mills.
Most residents, however, could still see their tax bills go up — as much as 5 percent in some cases — because of a state-mandated property revaluation that would increase the assessed value of residential properties.
The mayor said the spending increase is attributable to collective bargaining requirements and payments to the city pension fund.
Once the council amends the budget, it will go back to Segarra, who has the option of vetoing changes. The city's deadline to adopt a budget is May 31.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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