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Segarra Presents Plan To Fix Budget Deficit

By Jeff Cohen

May 15, 2012

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has a plan to close a multi-million hole in next year's city budget. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the mayor is hoping to cut some programs, make more money, and raise the city's tax rate.

This wasn't what Segarra had planned. In his original budget, the mayor hoped to bring in more tax revenue from apartments and residences. But, last week, the state legislature failed to act on a bill Segarra needed. The result was an $8 million budget hole for next year. Here's the mayor.

"What we're having to do is we're having to cut expenditures in order to make up for lost income."

That's one part of it. The mayor is proposing $2.6 million in cuts -- delaying a new firefighter class by two months, cutting lobbyist payments, and cutting city funding to a summer youth employment program. The program won't shrink, but now it isn't getting any bigger, either.

"The more cuts that we do, the more that you start to get into these critical services and vulnerable populations."

Segarra also revised his revenue estimates upward by about $3 million, saying the city will bring in more money in certain areas than it previously thought. And, finally, he's going to get about $2.5 million in taxes by raising the city's tax rate -- its mill rate -- higher than originally planned.

Shawn Wooden is the city council president. He says the council may not be able to stomach bigger tax hikes. The council has a Monday deadline.

"The Democratic caucus on the council is very, very sensitive about any mill rate increase . Given where we are, in my view, it looks increasingly likely that we'll have to end up with some mill rate increase."

In a letter to the council, Segarra said if it wants to make further cuts, they will likely have to come in the form of layoffs, service reductions, and other less politically favorable options.

For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.

Reprinted with permission of Jeff Cohen, author of the blog Capital Region Report. To view other stories on this topic, search Capital Region Report at http://capitalregionreport.wordpress.com/.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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