Surrounding towns asked to bail out Hartford's sewage bill

Mayor Luke Bronin is looking for outside resources to pay for the city's sewage bill. (WFSB file photo)

The Metropolitan District Commission asked towns neighboring Hartford Friday to pay more in order to accommodate the city's sewage bill.

MDC is in charge of regional water and sewage systems.

The organization told seven towns that they need $11 million because financial problems could force Hartford to declare banktrupcy.

Towns said they may have to raise taxes or cut services as a result.

"We don't spend what we don't have. We keep our money in the bank and then to be asked to support a town that overspends its bank account is concerning," said East Hartford mayor Marcia Leclerc.

East Hartford was asked to pay more than $2 million if Hartford doesn't pay its share.

Eight towns are regional members of the MDC, who will have to pay if Hartford can not find $11 million of their own money.

Many towns are worried about where they will find the money.

Windsor was asked to pitch in more than more than $1 million.

"Clearly it's an item of concern for us. We would have to take it from the general fund reserve," said Windsor town manager Peter Souza.

Hartford has not outright said that they couldn't pay. However, due to large deficits, the MDC has put a plan in place and has a reserve.

"If we don't put in a reserve for the money that Hartford may not pay, we may not be able to collect the money as part of Chapter 9," said MDC CEO Scott Jellison.

Even if towns bail out Hartford, some believe it may only be a band-aid. Half of the city's properties are tax and the city doesn't generate enough revenue.

As a result Hartford mayor Luke Bronin said the state should help.

"What we have been seeing for decades is a structural problem building up and building up. THe cans have been kicked down the road for a while. No much further can be kicked," said Bronin.The mayor intends to ask legislators for help, although that may take a while.

Meanwhile, towns are upset and could end up paying millions to bail out the city.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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