Hartford leaders have taken an important step that may save the city from bankruptcy by securing additional state funds.
Hartford city leaders have agreed that securing additional state money is worth allowing increased state oversight.
On Monday evening, despite expressing concern, city council members unanimously agreed to allow Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin to apply for oversight from the state panel that was created as part of the new budget agreement.
Under the deal, any city seeking additional state funding agrees to increased monitoring.
Hartford plans to ask the state for at least $40 million due to the budget crisis, some of which would come from the oversight panel.
The agreement would also mean that the panel would have the right to stop the city from acquiring any new debt and the ability to block any six figure contract.
Monday’s move only allows the mayor to apply to the committee, which essentially just starts a process that will take months.
Council President TJ Clarke said this was an important step even though agreeing to additional oversight was not an easy decision.
“In order for the city of Hartford to receive state aid, there were going to be some strings attached and this was what the provisions have been,” Clarke said. “At the end of the day we need the money to survive and to bring the quality of life to our residents and so it is what it is at this point.”
In a statement, Mayor Bronin said “As part of a comprehensive solution to Hartford’s structural budget challenge, the MARB was something that I advocated for and supported, because I’m confident in the decisions we’ve made and the discipline with which we’ve budgeted – and I welcome the chance to open our books. We’ve reduced the cost of government, negotiated big structural changes in labor contracts, and we’re now building a new partnership that makes it possible to put our Capital City on a firm foundation. Today, I’m proud that the City Council and my administration are acting together to achieve the goal of long-term stability and strength.”
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