Last year, the city council and Mayor Eddie A. Perez fought over the budget, down to the very last minute in May. This year, the mayor apparently wants it known that he’s at least talking a more cooperative game (see his press release below).
So the mayor’s budget is out — $554 million dollars, which is a 3.5 percent increase over the current budget. Perez says this “would mean a $320 annual increase on a single-family home assessed at $56,840 and a $1,364 annual increase on a mixed used property assessed at $93,480.”
Listen for more tonight during All Things Considered. UPDATE: Here’s our story.
MAYOR PEREZ SUBMITS FY 2010-2011 BUDGET
—NEWS AND COMMUNITY RELEASE—
(April 19, 2010)— Mayor Eddie A. Perez submitted his budget today after months of unprecedented collaboration during workshops with the Court of Common Council. This balanced budget closes a gap originally forecast at $43 million.
“The good news is we have maintained an excellent fiscal rating and reputation, despite the biggest ‘economic tsunami’ in our memory. While other cities face eliminating services and closing operations, we have managed our resources wisely to avoid such desperation and crisis,” said Mayor Perez. “Unfortunately without additional state or federal relief, we are forced to increase the financial burden on Hartford taxpayers. This heavy reliance on local property taxes lessens the impact of cuts and efficiencies we have put into effect on the municipal side of the budget.”
Ø A General Fund Budget increase of 3.5% or 1.5% over the last two fiscal years
Ø A 76.64 mill rate on all taxable property, which is an increase of 3.85 mills or 5%. This would
mean a $320 annual increase on a single-family home assessed at $56,840 and a $1,364 annual increase
on a mixed used property assessed at $93,480.
“Because of the hard economy, we must turn to property taxes to absorb the cost of services. That, in addition to the phase-out of the business surcharge and the phase-in of revaluation, sadly shifts the burden even more to residential and small business property owners. Every city and every town is finding it harder and harder to fund services primarily through local property taxes— the primary source of revenue for local governments,” said Mayor Perez.
Hartford budget highlights include:
Ø An increase in education of $2,500,000 to maintain the positive momentum of our schools
Ø Sustained funding of one new police class and one new fire class to offset pending retirements
Ø A contribution of $13,994,318 to the Municipal Employees Retirement Fund (MERF) for active and retired municipal employees. This contribution is a $7,755,593, or 124%, increase over the current year
Ø A $500,000 General Fund contribution for the Arts to build on the success of the FY 2009-10 Hartford Arts Stimulus Program that pumped more than $2.5 million into the local economy and created/retained 255 jobs for 23 Arts and Heritage Community organizations in its first six months alone
Ø A General Fund appropriation of $500,000 to implement a Parks Trainee Program for City residents who are re-entering the workforce after paying their debt to society
The Mayor’s complete recommended budget is available online at www.hartford.gov.