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Thu April 17, 2014
Segarra to Propose Budget, Facing Lots of Ground to Make Up
Next year's municipal budgets across the state are beginning to take shape. In Hartford, Mayor Pedro Segarra will present his budget to the city council on Monday. It's got a big hole in it.
Segarra's office said projected expenses in the budget add up to about $575 million. The city only has about $531 million in projected revenue, leading to a $44 million deficit.
The mayor wouldn't comment. City Council President Shawn Wooden said he expects the budget will have to pull on all available levers: taxes, cuts, and money from the city's rainy day fund.
"It's a very tough budget to put together," Wooden said. He added that the budget is constrained by things like payments to the city's pension funds, health benefits, and debt service.
"There's still a ways to go before he presents his budget to the council on Monday," Wooden said.
As Segarra works to finalize the budget, he spent time this week at the state capitol asking for financial help.
Matt Ritter, a state lawmaker who represents Hartford, said, "We're going to talk, and see if there is anything we can do to help as a delegation." It's not exactly great timing. The state is planning the second year of a two-year budget. Plus, there are only a few weeks left in this legislative session.
"There are some creative things you can do. There are some strategies," Ritter said. "But I would say this: at the end of the day, whatever state assistance we can provide is probably not going to clear up the entire deficit. It will lead to the city having to have those discussions amongst our elected officials to figure out how to best handle that."
Once Segarra presents his budget, the city council has until the end of May to approve it.