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.