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Just a short drive outside of Hartford, New Britain is located just about the center of the state with easy access to major highways. The City is just a 2 hour drive to both Boston and New York. The Energy and Innovation Park is constructing a 19.98 megawatt fuel cell grid and 275,000 gross sf data center offering data storage and protection to numerous entities including educational, governmental and private sector businesses in the Stanley Black and Decker campus. New Britain is also home to the 7th largest hospital in the state. Known as the “hardware city” due to its rich manufacturing history, New Britain remains home to Stanley Black & Decker, a fortune 500 company that maintains its world headquarters within the City. This diverse city is home to several art museums and community theatres, like the popular New Britain Museum of American Art and the Hole in the Wall Theatre. For those looking to spend time outside, New Britain has 1,200 acres of scenic parks and sport complexes to enjoy like Walnut Hill Park or Stanley Quarter Park with walking paths, ponds, and playgrounds. Central Connecticut State University is located downtown of the city, with over 12,000 students enrolled each year.
Management of the City’s finances is arguably my biggest responsibility as Mayor, and this includes creating the City’s operational budget each year. I have always viewed the annual budget process as comprising three key components; 1) cutting expenses, 2) managing our debt, and 3) growing our revenues. Remaining laser focused on this approach has allowed my administration to climb out of the $30 million deficit that existed when I first became Mayor, and it is exactly what protected us against financial demise in the face of extremely challenging economic times during this year’s budget process.
This was a particularly challenging budget process due to having to navigate the impact of unforeseen economic factors that were well outside of our control, but I am proud of the final product. The budget that has was officially adopted for Fiscal Year 2023-2024 by the Common Council during a special meeting on June 7th maintains our City’s financial stability even on the heels of unprecedented economic times. It includes an unprecedented $5 million increase in funding from the City to the public school district here in New Britain. The Consolidated School District of New Britain will also be receiving an additional $3.6 million in funding from the State of Connecticut in FY 24 and an estimated $8.2 million in FY 25.
We have all seen the rising costs of nearly everything, whether its eggs in the grocery store, or the materials needed to make repairs to your home. Unfortunately, the City of New Britain’s financial obligations were not immune to this trend, adding to the challenges of this budget cycle. For example, our contributions to the Municipal Employee Retirement Fund increased by $2,189,264, Police and Fire Pensions increased by $1,089,493, the cost of our medical insurance increased by $1,011,562, and the cost of our contractual obligations increased by $705,467. The City’s Debt Service payments also increased by $2,581,654.
I am happy that the Common Council passed my budget without any changes. This budget is fiscally sound, financially responsible, and makes major investments in education. In addition to the added $5 million to the Board of Education, this budget also funds the financing of the $70 million complete renovation of Holmes Elementary School, it avoids layoffs, meets all of the City’s fiduciary obligations, and puts $2.5 million in the Tax Stabilization Fund to help ensure continued protection for our taxpayers for the next 2 years.
Financial stability is a journey, not a destination, and it takes constant vigilance. Responsible fiscal management has been a cornerstone of my administration. The positive results of our efforts can be seen in many areas, most notably in our grand list which increased for the 10th year in a row this year and by an astonishing 40%. This new budget will shield residents from significant financial burden due to our increased property values, while still increasing investment in education, providing the quality of life our residents deserve, and maintaining the level of services this community expects from its government.
In accordance with the New Britain City Charter, I recently presented my proposed budget to the Common Council during the first Council meeting of April. Over the past several weeks I have been pouring over budget requests and crunching numbers until I was able to create a budget for the City of New Britain that minimizes the financial impact of the state-mandated revaluation process on taxpayers, while responsibly balancing the wants and the needs of our community.
This was certainly one of the most challenging budgets I have ever done, largely due to the mandatory reval that came in the midst of a volatile market and rising inflation. While these factors were outside of my control I still had a duty to protect our taxpayers as much as possible, which is why I am proud to have been able to lower the mill rate by 23% from 49.5 to 38.2. This new proposed mill rate will shield residents from significant financial burden due to increased property values, while still increasing investment in education, providing the quality of life our residents deserve, and maintaining the level of services this community expects from its government.
Last year at this time I wrote a column about how the City of New Britain was finally able to reach a place of financial stability, and my proposed budget for this year maintains that stability even on the heels of unprecedented economic times. The budget I proposed to the Common Council responsibly balances the needs and wants of our residents while providing an additional $5 million to the Board of Education, funding a $70 million complete renovation of Holmes Elementary School, avoiding layoffs, meeting all of the City’s fiduciary obligations, and putting $2.5 million in the Tax Stabilization Fund to help ensure continued protection for our taxpayers in years to come.
Now that I have presented my proposed budget to the Common Council, Council members have until June 7th to make any changes and adopt a final budget. Each subcommittee will review my proposed budget during their public meetings, and then the Council will come back together to create the final budget document. Residents can view my budget presentation under the Mayor’s Office tab on the City’s website at www.newbritainct.gov.
Fiscal responsibility has been a cornerstone of my administration, and the proposed budget I put forth to the Common Council this year reflects that. My primary responsibility as Mayor is to oversee the financial wellbeing of our City and ensure the taxes our residents pay with their hard-earned money are spent in a way that results in the greatest positive impact for the entire community. This is a responsibility I take incredibly seriously, and I feel this budget will continue to give us all the quality of life we have come to expect, while maintaining affordability for the blue-collar, working class residents who are truly the heart and soul of this great City.
New Britain, CT – Mayor Erin Stewart and City Assessor Michael Konik announced today that the City of New Britain’s Grand List has shown an increase of 40.5%. The Grand List is an aggregate valuation of taxable property throughout the City of New Britain and is used to calculate the City’s tax rate. 188 new businesses came to New Britain during the tenth consecutive year of Grand List growth for the City.
“New Britain is in the midst of a transformation unlike anything that’s been seen in years, and our grand list growth mirrors this exciting economic turnaround,” said Mayor Erin E. Stewart. “Under my administration we have built a business friendly environment that is focused on improving our financial conditions. I have long said that financial stability is a destination that is only achieved through constant vigilance.”
In 2022 the City of New Britain underwent a state mandated revaluation process, which came at a time of inflation, high demand, low inventory, and favorable interest rates. As a result the City will reevaluate the current mill rate as part of the budget process that is now underway. The City budget that is finalized in the Spring of 2023 will likely reflect an adjusted mill rate, so residents are encouraged to not apply their new property value to the current mill rate because it will reflect an inaccurate representation of taxes owed.
Based on a mill rate of 49.50 for real estate and personal property and a mill rate of 32.46 for motor vehicles—along with a tax collection rate of 100 percent—the increase in the Grand List equates to a potential addition of $55.9 million in additional tax revenue. It is important to note this amount of additional tax revenue for the City is not final and actual amount of tax revenue cannot be determined until the City completes its budget process in the spring.
“I fully expect to lower the current mill rate of 49.50 to equalize the tax burden on all payers,” said Mayor Erin Stewart.
The personal property portion of the Grand List increased in value by $1,434,870 or 0.67%. This increase from 2021 can be partly attributed to business owners adjusting to a post COVID-19 pandemic work environment.
The motor vehicle portion of the Grand List increased by 8.94%, or $36,156,660. The number of passenger vehicles increased in number by 1,126 and the average passenger vehicle assessment increased by 4.80%. This increase in car values is due to ongoing complications in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. There continues to be significant shortages in the chips that go into cars as well as other materials, coupled with increasing inflation and supply chain issues.
Real estate increased by $1,104,530,575 or 50.15%. Property value spiked during the state mandated revaluation process the City went through this year due to high demand, low inventory, and favorable interest rates. The Assessor’s Office revalued all 17,000 properties throughout the City as part of the revaluation process.