Harp Orders Plans For Contingency Cuts

Markeshia Ricks PhotoMayor Toni Harp has instructed city department heads to come up with plans to slash spending in order to avoid tax hikes in the event the state can’t pass a new budget by September.

Harp has given the department heads until the end of the month to prepare the plans, she said on the latest edition of WNHH radio’s “Mayor Monday” program.

She said that the city expects to receive at least the $30 million in state aid that it received last year. But the state legislature failed to meet a deadline to pass a budget by the beginning of July as required by law. Now the governor has warned that the state might not have one by August’s end, either.

That would leave the city in a short-term cash crisis, she said. Hence the directive to department heads.

Also, Harp said, the administration is still hoping for an additional promised $18 million in state aid on top of the $30 million. But it is planning for the possibility that it might not come given the state’s projected $5 billion-plus two-year deficit. This fiscal year’s $538.9 million city operational budget counts on that $18 million increase.

The only option off the table is a tax increase, Harp said.

“We’re asking our department heads, our coordinators, to take a look at how they can tighten the belt,” she said.

City and town leaders statewide are in similar straits because of the state budget impasse. It has already cost cities and towns an estimated $100 million in lost revenue.

On the WNHH radio program, Harp said she supports the idea of the legislature bailing out the city of Hartford to help it avoid bankruptcy, even if that means rewarding a city for failing to make some of the hard decisions that have allowed New Haven to balance its budgets in recent years. The governor has proposed $40 million in additional aid for the capital city.

“We can’t afford to have any city in our state go bankrupt. It impacts the state’s creditworthiness. The state has an obligation to address it in some way,” Harp said. “The governor is saying, and I think the legislature would do this as well, ‘If we have to prop you up in some way we’re going to have more to say’” about how Hartford spend state dollars.

Click on or download the above audio file to hear the full episode of “Mayor Monday” on WNHH radio.

This episode of “Mayor Monday” was made possible with the support of Gateway Community College and Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C.

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posted by: Noteworthy on July 31, 2017  1:25pm

Broken Record Notes:

1. The last two years, the city has gotten more money from the state - and spent it all. The city spent and planned to spend all that money even when it wasn’t sure exactly how much the state was going to provide in its dependency payment.

2. Re: this year’s budget - all one can say is the mayor’s inability to see a train wreck coming when she was a state senator in charge of spending has now come home to roost as mayor. Harp fails to grasp the significance of spending all our cash, having very little free cash flow and in this year of $5 billion in state deficit, still managed to build a budget that spends all the increase and more.

3. The mayor was warned; the BOA was warned and still they hired more people. Stunning. Better think again about that tax increase. It’s egregious, regressive and it’s a self inflicted wound that was easily avoidable. Just cut the budget.

Cut This Notes:

1. Eliminate the 25 new positions

2. Cut the tennis for elites payment’

3.  Do not move part timers to full time in the mayor’s office or elsewhere

4. Launch an immediate program for loss prevention, control and mitigation

5. Cut the planned new debt - including the faux teen homeless shelter

6. Scrap the mayor’s plans for a domestic violence office - this is just another employee, and it’s all politics anyway

posted by: jim1 on July 31, 2017  2:47pm

So the state might not give the money we were hoping for.  What else is new.
It’s NOT Toni fault the the tax rate and mill rate will go up.  Blame it on the state.
She will not louse any votes if she can blame the state.
Cuts in budget everyone gets only 50% of raise.
You want to move, move.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 31, 2017  4:53pm

posted by: jim1 on July 31, 2017 3:47pm

So the state might not give the money we were hoping for.  What else is new.
It’s NOT Toni fault the the tax rate and mill rate will go up.  Blame it on the state.
She will not louse any votes if she can blame the state.
Cuts in budget everyone gets only 50% of raise.
You want to move, move.

A lot of people do want to move.They are still trying to find sucks to by there over tax houses.

posted by: Bill Saunders on July 31, 2017  6:02pm

No Jim1,

It’s Toni’s fault for being a spendthrift…..

posted by: Noteworthy on July 31, 2017  8:16pm

And still not a word from our illustrious state legislative do nothings -

Where is Robyn Porter, Gary Winfield, Toni Walker, Martin Looney? Hiding and laying plans to tax the hell out of us. Using their logic, the state doesn’t have a spending problem, it has a revenue problem. Just tax more. Toni Harp’s view? It’s the state’s problem - it should just tax more so I can spend more.

This treadmill is old. We deserve better. Time to choose people - more of the same from this crowd?

posted by: Peter99 on August 1, 2017  6:45am

We could not run our household budget the way the city or state does. A high number of folks in this state look at their income, adjust their expenses and survive without going bankrupt. We are dealing with people in state government that are either incompetent or incapable of making hard decisions and doing the job they were elected to do. We vote these folks into office so we get what we deserve when they fail. It will not change, because of the power of the political parties and the influence they wield. People prostitute themselves and vote these politicians in to get the few political crumbs that fall on the floor after the politicians have taken the goodies off the banquet table. The voting public never learns.

posted by: 1644 on August 1, 2017  8:12am

3/5’s:  In the past, you have said that you are one of those who is looking to move as soon as he can find a sucker to buy his property.  Yet, you speak against gentrification, which raises the value of real properties.

If folks want lower taxes and rising property values, new construction which maximizes the property’s value, e.g., absent affordable housing and local hiring restrictions, is the best route.  Replacing surface parking or decaying factory buildings with upscale housing (a) adds new properties to the Grand List, meaning less burden for everyone else, and (2) indirectly raises the value of neighboring properties, as the neighborhood becomes safer and more desirable with he addition of a neighbors who use their socio-economic status to ensure better public services; and (3) indirectly raises the value of all New Haven properties as the tax base is broadened, allowing a lower tax rate for everyone in New Haven.  New Haven would also have been wise to welcome commercial and industrial uses to its tax base, such as reuse of the English Station power plant, and welcoming an Amazon distribution center.  Towns like Branford, Milford, North Haven, and Wallingford encourage industry and commerce to maintain low taxes and high services.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 1, 2017  3:19pm

posted by: 1644 on August 1, 2017 9:12am

3/5’s:  In the past, you have said that you are one of those who is looking to move as soon as he can find a sucker to buy his property.  Yet, you speak against gentrification, which raises the value of real properties.

And then the property tax increases which becomes unaffordable and people are force from their homes.I have a house in New York and I pay less taxes on that house then I pay here.Also Like I told you before.I have a New York State Pension.I have to pay taxes on my pension here,But I would not have to pay taxes in New York.I can not buy a New Car because of the Car Tax you must pay in this state.New York Does not have Car Tax.So for tax reasons looking to move as soon as he can find a sucker to buy his property. .In fact I am looking to movie Here.

Panama.

I can rent a whole house for this,

CORONADO/GORGONA/SAN CARLOS $950 Three Bedroom, 2.5 Baths, Only 3 Miles to Beach.

PLAYA BLANCA Panama Rentals $1200 a month –  Two Bedroom Two Bath Condo

https://panamarelocationtours.com/rentals

posted by: 1644 on August 2, 2017  10:48am

3/5’s: So, you do realize that you are gentrifying Panama.  The buying power of ex-patriot retirees, such as you,  drives up demand, and therefore prices.  Natives who might previously been able to afford a place on the beach are no longer able to, as rents now are similar to those in greater New Have ($1500 for an apartment).  Of course, the spending of newcomers such as yourself will open some economic opportunities for natives just as it closes others, just as it does in New Haven.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on August 2, 2017  6:38pm

3/5ths, como se dice “gentrification vampire” en Español?

posted by: 1644 on August 2, 2017  8:09pm

The Governor’s current executive order calls for New Haven to get $22 million less in ECS funding this year than it did last year.  The Governor has said he might soften that cut, presumably by increasing the number of towns getting nothing. As it is, Milford is losing nearly $11 million, Branford, Guilford, North Haven, Madison, Clinton (losing over $6 million), it’s hard to imagine the legislature actually increasing aid to New Haven.  The budget adopted by the Alders was highly irresponsible.
https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3911401/Executive-order-ECS.pdf