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Mon April 16, 2012
Hartford Mayor Presents Budget
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra presented his budget today/yesterday for the year that starts this July. As WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports, Segarra says the task in front of city leaders is unprecedented.
Thanks in large part to changes in property values, or reval, the city was facing a more than $54 million dollar deficit for next year. In a budget of about $540 million, that’s ten percent, and it’s not normal.
"I can tell you that no year compares to this year by way of the challenges that we had to meet given the significant loss of tax revenue as a result of the reval."
The mayor says that he nevertheless closed the gap, cutting spending slightly even as the city takes in fewer tax dollars. Still, single-family homeowners may not be thrilled.
Here’s what happens to your tax bill if you own property in the city. Commercial property taxes are going down significantly, Segarra says, because their values have plummeted. But while residential taxes for two and three family homes will go down, Segarra says taxes on single family homes will go up.
"Obviously, the only properties that maintain more of their value are the single families, so they might see on average a slight increase -- about a four percent range."
One interesting chunk of new money in the budget is this – Segarra says that the state still owes the city $49 million in money from its enormous schools construction project undertaken by the administration of former Mayor Eddie Perez. Mayor Segarra says he and the state are working get that issue resolved. This year’s budget includes $9 million from that pool.
The budget also includes $1 million in union concessions that haven’t yet been agreed upon, as well as $1 million Segarra is hoping to get voluntarily from non-profits that have tax-exempt property in the city. Finally, the budget counts on education funding from the state that hasn't yet been approved by the legislature.
The mayor has recently faced criticism from the president of the city council for giving raises to his staff while facing such a severe budgetary situation. It was an issue the mayor didn't address.
For WNPR, I’m Jeff Cohen.