During a town hall meeting on Tuesday evening, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin delivered the message that cuts are imminent.
Tuesday was part of a week-long community conversation to get ideas on how to close the budget gap, and the mayor has warned everyone that it is going to be a difficult year.
“Being an employee of Hartford, I’m just trying to get some information on the cuts,” said Curtis Porter, who works for Hartford Public Schools and is also thinking about buying a home in the city.
Porter said he’s worried about what will happen to the school system.
“We’re not going to have the needed support in the schools to sustain a well-maintained climate and culture and be able to provide all of our services to all of our students,” Porter said.
Porter was one of more than three dozen area residents who grilled the mayor on his plans to close a budget shortfall of $10 million this year.
“We have borrowed a lot as a city over the years,” Bronin said.
He said it’s that borrowing and one-time gimmicks, like selling a city-owned parking lot, that have put the city in dire straits.
Last Friday, Eyewitness News learned that several city employees were laid off.
“I frankly don’t think there’s room to raise taxes in a city that’s got a mil rate of 74 and change,” Bronin said.
The mayor told the crowd he is trying to lobby the state for more money, along with working with schools and other non-profits to help the city during its difficult time.
Bronin admitted that closing the budget gap of $10 million won’t be easy.
“You can’t just cut your way through a deficit like that. You can’t just put your hand out and ask our big companies to pay more,” Bronin said.
The mayor will be submitting his budget next month to the city council.
Bronin will be having more meetings in the near future. For the schedule, click here.
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