NEW HAVEN RESPONDS TO IMPACT OF STATE BUDGET SHORTFALLS
(5/8/2008) NEW HAVEN- In a news conference at City Hall, Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., joined by members of the New Haven Delegation, the Board of Aldermen and City staff, announced a framework for achieving a balanced City budget in light of the State’s Fiscal Year 2009 budget decisions. The failure of the State to meet statutory reimbursement rates for Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) in addition to the elimination of Early Reading Success (ERS) funding cut $14.2 million between what the City expected in State Aid and what it in fact will receive.
“The State put us in a position where we will need to make sacrifices to balance our budget,” said DeStefano. “We are evaluating choices and making decisions with the best interest of our residents in mind. We will not increase the mill rate. But, in order to achieve this, we must work together as one team and work through the consequences of the State’s decisions.”
DeStefano announced a series of cost-cutting opportunities the City may implement to eliminate the $14.2 million difference (which includes the $2.3 million previously budgeted for ERS including:
- A reduction in funding for homeless shelters upwards of $500,000
- Decreased subsidies to the Shubert Theater, Market New Haven and Tweed Airport totaling $550,000
- $5.7 million in agency/service cuts
- $4 million in the Board of Education budget
- Elimination of ERS (representing $2.3 million)
- Increase in health care cost sharing for City employees
- Reduction in third-party non-profit subsidies
This year’s budget demonstrates an 11.3 percent increase in the tax levy due to the phase-in of the property revaluation. “Taxes are going up because of the phase-in, that’s inevitable. However, we’re working together with City and Board Of Education leadership to make changes to the budget that will not increase the phase-in. This isn’t easy, but it’s important for City’s taxpayers; they shouldn’t have to face anymore of the burden just because the State didn’t do its job,” said Carl Goldfield (D-29), President of the Board of Aldermen.
DeStefano expressed the City’s commitment to protecting public safety, maintaining the current millrate at 42.21 and continuing to pressure the State to properly fund PILOT in the following fiscal year. “The State of Connecticut is the City’s top tax deadbeat. It’s not our residents who aren’t paying their tax bills, it’s the State and that simply is not fair to our homeowners,” said DeStefano. “We’re going to get through this together and we’re going to make the necessary sacrifices. But, this can’t happen again.”
DeStefano thanked the New Haven Delegation in Hartford for their relentless efforts to bring more tax dollars back to the City. “We may not have one this time,” said DeStefano. “But you fought hard for our residents and for this we thank you.”
The Board of Aldermen will receive budget revisions next Wednesday and continue the approval process with the intentions of agreeing on a new FY09 budget by the first week in June, as required by the Charter.
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