Hartford mayor takes budget problems to finance committee - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hartford mayor takes budget problems to finance committee

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Mayor Luke Bronin during a previous town hall meeting. (WFSB) Mayor Luke Bronin during a previous town hall meeting. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Hartford's mayor took the city's budget problems to the state finance committee on Monday.

Mayor Luke Bronin met with the legislature's committee at the Legislative Office Building on Monday, where he called the city's financial situation a "full-blown fiscal crisis."

On Monday, Bronin said the city's deficit is more than $48 million and urged state lawmakers for an oversight board to get the city's house in order. The commission would have the power to negotiate pensions and health benefits, but city workers worry about losing what was once promised.

"The gap will soon be so big that even if we eliminated our entire police department and our entire fire department, we would still have a deficit," Bronin said.

Hartford firefighters said they are worried an oversight commission would take away collective bargaining.

"The answer isn't to legislate our rights away, and marginalize the sacrifices our membership has already made ---and continuing to make," said Hartford Firefighter Peter Towey.

Bronin said his goal is to close the $10 million budget gap for the fiscal year.

He promised that cuts were inevitable during his state of the city address earlier this month.

He blamed former Mayor Pedro Segarra's administration for liberally borrowing money to make things easier in the short run and that pushed payments into the future.

The Hartford Firefighters Association IAFF Local 760, arrived in a group for the hearing. It's advocating to "negotiate not legislate."

Some lawmakers have concerns about city services.

"This is a delicate situation that I hope responsible people will come to the table and recognize the greater good, and that means sacrifice on everyone's part," said State Senator John Fonfara said.

"We cannot raise the mill rate across the board with a city mill rate of 74, a property tax rate that is twice that of surrounding towns. To do so would kill the city of Hartford," Bronin added.

He said he is not looking to do away with collective bargaining, but there has to be sacrifices. He's also looking for non-profits to help out with taxes.

The city's fiscal year ends on June 30.

Monday night, Bronin also held a town hall meeting to discuss the city's financial troubles.

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