Hartford City Council Passes FY2018 Budget

The Hartford City Council adopted a budget for the 2018 fiscal year Monday night. But the budget battle is still far from over, as the budget passed relies on union concessions and tens of millions of dollars from the state.

“We have done our job now. We passed a budget that has a flat mill rate,” said Hartford Common Council President TJ Clarke.

There are no tax increases in the budget, and while most of Mayor Luke Bronin’s originally proposed budget stands, Hartford Public Access TV now receives partial instead of zero funding. A good chunk of funding for senior centers and Dial-a-Ride was also restored.

“This budget process wasn't easy, and it was filled with a lot of discussion and compromise,” said Common Council member Glendowlyn Thames.

What started out as a $65 million deficit for the fiscal year is now plugged on paper, but far from guaranteed. It still depends on about $40 million in new revenue from the state.

“When you have half of a city's property as nontaxable and less than what you get in suburbs like West Hartford, it's not built to work,” said Mayor Luke Bronin. “Our budget is bare bones, but it relies on a new partnership with State of Connecticut,” he added.

The budget also depends on millions in givebacks from organized labor, which just got that much tougher after members for one of the biggest unions in the city rejected a contract last week that would have saved $4 million of several years. 

But with news today that the state is closing on a union deal that could save more than a billion dollars, there is optimism in the capital city. 

“I hope our unions pay attention to that and I hope they step up and do what needs to be done,” Bronin said.

If the city can show it has its fiscal house in order, then the three largest insurance companies in Hartford will kick in a combined $10 million each year for the next five years – something else the budget depends on.

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