Hartford mayor says cuts are coming amid budget shortfall - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hartford mayor says cuts are coming amid budget shortfall

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Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin (WFSB) Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin (WFSB)
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin held his first State of the City address on Monday evening where he said cuts are coming. (WFSB) Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin held his first State of the City address on Monday evening where he said cuts are coming. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin held his first State of the City address on Monday evening where he said cuts are coming.

Bronin focused on the future of the city, as it is facing a $30 million shortfall.

"The past administrations borrowed liberally, to make things easier in the short run, they refinanced debt, pushing payments into the future," Bronin said, adding that those payments will reach $50 million in 2019.

During his speech, Bronin talked about the city's high tax rate for small business, which he said is driving business out of town. 

"We must have a conversation with our largest property owners. Those companies pay large tax bills already and their philanthropic giving supports countless organizations serving Hartford residents. But we must nonetheless, ask them to do more," Bronin said.

He also talked about the heavy cuts that will be to the core of the city's existence, and even with those cuts, the city will need help.

"The deepest cuts, the most painful concessions, the elimination of services, and even the most generous help from partners here in Hartford, all of that will only get us part of the way towards closing the gap in the years ahead," Bronin said.

He said the city administers more than 60 different health insurance plans for retirees, and when some employees leave, they receive six-figure payouts for sick and vacation time.

The city is currently in arbitration with the union representing 191 municipal employees.

Union President J. Sean Antoine said he understands that cuts need to begin and he's willing to negotiate.

"No one mayor or one person can make this work. I think we can all do that and make it work for the city and it's citizens," Antoine said.

Bronin said there are three parts of the solution, all of which would require help beyond the city's borders.

"One is greater support from the state; stop talking about regionalism and start regionalizing, and for the federal government to make real investments in state and local government," he said.

Bronin added that Hartford is the economic and cultural heart of the region, and it needs help to grow.

The city's fiscal year ends on June 30, but the mayor insisted he wants to see improvement in the city every day leading up to end and well into the next  several fiscal years.

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