Torrington Looking at Budget Options as State Continues Without One

The City of Torrington is in better fiscal shape than other larger municipalities in Connecticut.

The city approved a balanced budget months ago and it carries a fund balance that’s equal to about seven percent of city spending.

Even with that responsibility, Torrington finds itself in a difficult situation like every one of the 169 cities and towns in Connecticut as the state works without a budget for the 41st day.

"Every mayors' nightmare is unpredictability," Mayor Elinor Carbone said.

Carbone said the city is looking at all options as it deals with losing what could be as much as $30 million in state funding for everything from basic operating expenses to cash specifically set aside for education.

"These are tremendous," Carbone said of the possible cuts. "For a distressed municipality such as Torrington, with an already oppressive mill rate, we really can’t afford to bear any more of the burden than we already do."

Since the state doesn’t have a budget that’s signed into law by the governor, Governor Dannel Malloy has been running the state by executive order, only spending what the state has where the state is legally obligated to spend money. Without a budget, basic expenses like municipal aid, which accounts for about 25 percent of all state spending, is on hold in some form or fashion.

When asked Thursday about the stalemate, and his role in the budget dysfunction, Malloy said, "This is all a balancing act and these are difficult decisions to make and I fully appreciate and that’s why I don’t speak with anger, I speak with a level of understanding, but ultimately we need to have a budget."

Carbone said Torrington is even looking at short-term borrowing as a way to plug the hole left by the lack of a state budget.

"We're doing everything we can but unless and until the state does something with its budget, we are at wits’ end,” Carbone said. She finds herself in the same position as just about every other local elected official in Connecticut, saying, “I am preparing for the worst and hoping for the best," Carbone said. 

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