$91 million held from CT cities and towns - WFSB 3 Connecticut

$91 million held from CT cities and towns

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Coventry Superintendent David Petrone discussed the municipal budget could only be completed after the state budget was passed. (WFSB) Coventry Superintendent David Petrone discussed the municipal budget could only be completed after the state budget was passed. (WFSB)

According to the governor, more cuts will be made to bridge a gap in funding and that means he's holding back money from some communities. 

Gov. Dannel Malloy blames the lawmakers who drafted this budget for this situation, but those lawmakers argue he's being overly aggressive and targeting towns.

More than 20 miles from the State Capitol inside a small auditorium, Coventry leaders discussed the municipal budget could only be completed after the state budget was passed.

“It is impossible for us to move forward as a district,” Coventry Superintendent David Petrone said. “It's impossible for us to plan and determine what the next steps are gonna be when our funding is uncertain.”

Petrone said the decrease in state funding forced him to cut 11 school positions, but he felt the district was poised to move forward. The announcement from the governor on Friday caused a new wave of uncertainty.

“It makes it very difficult to move forward on the student agenda when you're unsure of where your findings gonna come from or if that funding is gonna be there,” Petrone said.  

Malloy explained on Friday that he will need to hold back some funding cities and towns because of a nearly billion-dollar gap in the new budget--most of that

The money will come from concessions from state unions, but it isn't enough so cities and towns will lose $91 million. 

“We finally felt that we were at a point OK, we took our hit,” Petrone said. “We realized the impact that these cuts were gonna have on us, we developed a plan we put that plan in place and now once we feel we finally are on solid ground, once again we find we are on shaky ground.”

It's unclear how the cuts will shake out and which towns will lose the most money. But, Petrone said he hopes the governor and his team will keep in mind who could be hurt the most.

“I think it's important for them to pause, take a minute and look at how these decisions are gonna impact children,” Petrone said.

Coventry is just one town who would feel the impact and the timing is crucial.  The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities warned town will have a difficult time managing their budgets because most have already started their fiscal years.   

"But now, new additional cuts approaching $100 million must be absorbed – through service reductions or local tax hikes – nearly halfway through the fiscal year. Municipal governments will have increasing difficulty trying to managing their current year spending, having to again just for a shortfall in revenues less than a month after being told to count on a defined level of state aid," Connecticut Conference of Municipalities said in a statement on Friday.

Connecticut Conference of Municipalities said they released "a report prior to the last session to try and stabilize government finances and avoid this reoccurring volatility." 

"Unfortunately, the General Assembly failed to enact many of those necessary reforms.  CCM will continue to promote a reform agenda that can stabilize Connecticut’s finances and put the state back onto a path for growth. In light of these recent developments, we can only hope that legislative leaders will be more willing to work with CCM and its member municipal leaders going forward," Connecticut Conference of Municipalities said. 

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