Like all Connecticut cities, Meriden is trying to manage today’s economic challenges. Among those, delinquent taxes.
Per the governor’s executive order, towns must offer either a deferral or low-interest rate program. Meriden has opted for the latter.
“Typically our annual interest rate is at 18 percent for delinquent taxes,” said Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati. “This program that’s in place is at three percent.”
Evaluating current finances, Meriden is projecting a $5 million loss in tax revenue in the next fiscal year. They say that's better than if they’d gone with the deferral program.
“If we went with a deferral program we’d be looking at upwards of $30-plus million potential deficit heading into the next fiscal year after July 1,” said Scarpati.
According to the mayor, Meriden is projecting about a $300,000 shortfall in revenue this fiscal year but hopes to off-set that by savings on spending.
Some of that savings will be on school busses. A re-negotiated contract with Hunter Transportation has already netted a $112,000 savings. Another deal is being re-negotiated with New Britain Transportation that could save another $200,000.
As for businesses around the city, struggles are evident.
“All of our restaurants that weren’t able to set up for takeout unfortunately have closed,” said Meriden’s Economic Development Director Joe Feest.
Retailers have also been deeply affected, including those at the Westfield Shopping Center.
“There are several retailers inside there that are completely shutdown,” added Feest.
To assist these business in the future, Meriden’s mayor says he has reached out to senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, seeking federal guidance.
“We’re hoping to set up a meeting with them,” explained Scarpati. “We want to look at whatever relief packages might be viable from a federal standpoint to trickle their way down to municipalities.”