City Council Approves Budget, Holds Line On Taxes

What a difference a year makes.

Last budget cycle City Council members and Mayor Joe Ganim tussled over financial issues including discretionary appointees of the mayor the budget committee wanted to cut.

This season is peaceful, easy feeling.

Monday night the council largely approved the mayor’s spending plan with some modest changes advanced by the budget committee including $500,000 above the $2 million the mayor proposed for additional school investment. The tax rate will remain the same for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The city anticipates rosier cost savings from the state including several million from a plan by State Comptroller Sean Scanlon to reform the Connecticut Municipal Employees Retirement System (CMERS), the state-run pension plan for municipal public-sector employees including police officers, firefighters, boards of education, and public works employees.

So heading into the gut of election season Ganim and council incumbents will pompom the tax rate. Education advocates will assert schools still aren’t receiving enough as well as the yin and the yang that accompanies campaign Machiavellianism.

Last week mayoral staff and a majority of the city’s legislative delegation made their pitch to Connecticut Speaker of the House Matt Ritter to solidify the municipal budget needs. What happens in Hartford significantly impacts the local budget so the delegation plays a key role bridging city hall with finance influencers.



  1. What were the specific changes made in CMERS that provided relief to the City? And the amount, plus or minus, of each change this year? After decades of no attention or reform, was this mostly a kick-the-can-down- the-road?
    Did City Council make a proposal for supportive staff to provide them some independence from Mayoral staff responses, or failur to respond, as he chooses this year? Won’t they require such support in the coming years, no matter who wins in November, as one time assumptions for a flat-tax election year will not be available next year in likelihood? Time will tell.

  2. Imagine a budget season with no one attacking or praising the proposals, the content, or the deliberations?
    Imagine public speaking sessions not completely filled by folks “outraged” or “confused” by the budget players in the City and on the City Council?
    And imagine a City where reasonable questions were raised publicly above about CMERS as the provider of retirement plans for almost all of City employees and no response available from Ken Flatto, Finance Department, or Nestor Nkwo, Office of Policy Management, two people who may have the most information to share with the taxpaying public. Perhaps Lennie will deign to invite an article from either one on the subject matter raised, how our City Plans for Police and Fire have fared since MERS, as well as how much overtime wages (otherwise not covered by outside employers with reimbursements for retirement expenses) have cost the City since MERS takeover including bonding and annual expenses to cover bond payments)? When you keep the activity from public sight rather than treating it as an outcome of past decision making for ongoing expense, how is the public served? Time will tell.


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