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Mayor Erin E. Stewart on Wednesday presented to the Common Council a$237.72 million budget for 2018-19 that calls for no tax increase and an overall reduction inspending.
The $237,729,089 budget represents a 1.58 percent decrease from the current year’s $241.53million budget. The Mayor received the Board of Finance and Taxation’s budget proposal onMarch 8. Under the Mayor’s plan, $13 million in changes were made, including $1 million incuts to the City side of the budget.
“This is a budget that preserves public safety, keeps education spending intact, retains an $18million fund balance, and maintains the services and quality of life that residents and businessowners have come to expect. It’s a budget that builds on our mission to find intradepartmentalefficiencies and guides us through a period of financial uncertainty at the Capitol in Hartford,”said Mayor Stewart. “I’d like to thank the Board of Finance and Taxation for all their hard workover the last several months. During that time, they heard in detail from department heads anddeveloped a proposal that aimed to strike a balance between funding our obligations andkeeping the mill rate down for taxpayers.”
The Mayor’s budget includes no layoffs or reduction in services, fully funds the City’s pensionobligations, factors in a 10 percent reduction in state aid, provides level funding to the Board ofEducation, and features an estimated savings from restructuring debt. Savings also come in partfrom the City’s 2017 Grand List increasing more than 5 percent.
“The Board of Education will receive the same amount of money from the City as they did lastyear, which is in line with the state mandate. While we realize this is not ideal, we are beingrealistic with the money we expect to receive from the state,” the Mayor stated.
The budget provides $125,700,000 in funding to the Consolidated School District of NewBritain. The school system was able to reduce its initial budget request by $1.64 million due to areduction in transportation costs related to going out to bid. The school board’s major requestedincreases included $1.40 million for salary increases and $2.1 million for increases in insurancecosts and fringe benefits.
“We understand that Superintendent Sarra is in the process of a massive restructuring of theschool district that will help save money,” Mayor Stewart said.
The budget proposal also accounts for more than $1 million in cuts on the City side, whichincludes:
A reduction in overtime in the Fire Department budget now that they are at fullstaffing levels
A reduction of four vacant patrol officer positions at the Police Department, nowthat the federal grant is no longer available
A reduction in apprentice positions within the telecommunications division
Trimming nearly every department’s budget to average historical funding levels,allowing the City to provide uninterrupted services