Cities and towns working out deal with water provider - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Cities and towns working out deal with water provider

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)

Seven cities and towns are scrambling to work out a deal with their water provider in case Hartford can't pay its $11 million bill.

The Metropolitan District Commission asked the other cities and towns to fork over millions to cover costs if the capitol city can't pay its share. On Monday, they came up with another possible solution.

If Hartford does declare bankruptcy or can't pay its bills that could be a big problem. Two weeks ago, the MDC was asking neighboring towns the $11 million bill, but now that's on hold.

Mayors and town managers realize Hartford is in bad financial shape, but they don't feel they should have to pay Hartford’s share. Hartford hasn't declared bankruptcy, but the city is facing a $50 million deficit next year.

"The city has faced financial challenges every year,” Hartford CFO Darrell Hill said. “We have exhausted ways to deal with it."

Hill said Hartford should be able to pay its January and April sewer bill from the MDC, but July is questionable.

The MDC recently told seven towns if Hartford couldn't pay the $11 million it owes, they would pay.

"I am very concerned about the whole structure of MDC and we really need more than 8 of us to support Hartford,” West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor said.

Now there's a new plan. Hartford is going to appeal to state lawmakers and is asking them to restructure the city's tax system. More than half the properties in the city are tax exempt.

The MDC and the seven towns will wait to see what happens.

"If Hartford doesn't pay, we will issue bonds to borrow in the short term and give the towns time to deal with the crisis,” MDC CEO Scott Jellison said.

But if lawmakers don't make any changes, the city's financial problems will still be there.

The MDC said if that's the case, they may have to borrow money in the short term, but this could be a long term problem.            

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