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February 23, 2016

Bronin projects steep deficits for Hartford

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin Tuesday painted a bleak picture of the city’s fiscal outlook, projecting deficits to grow as high as $63 million by fiscal year 2019.

Bronin outlined the Capital City’s fiscal challenges at the Hartford Public Library kicking off budget workshops that provide an opportunity for residents to participate in the budget process.

According to projections, Hartford is facing a shortfall of approximately $9 million in the projected $540 million current fiscal year budget, despite approximately $12 million of unexpected revenue from a bond sale in 2015, according to numbers provided by the mayor's office.

The city faces a gap of approximately $32 million in the upcoming fiscal year, beginning July 1, when spending is expected to reach $580.5 million. The deficit is projected to grow to over $48 million in fiscal 2018 and over $63 million in fiscal 2019, absent significant changes to the city’s cost structure, Bronin said.

“The City of Hartford has had a large structural budget gap for years, but it’s been hidden with one-time fixes like selling parking garages and raiding reserve funds, while taxes climbed higher,” Bronin said in a written statement. “We can’t do that anymore. We have a responsibility to build Hartford’s future on a solid foundation, and there’s no way to do that without making some very difficult, very painful changes.”

Bronin said the decisions the city makes in this year’s budget will “determine whether Hartford is once again a healthy, growing city, or whether we accept a future of decline. I refuse to accept decline, and that means we need to tackle our challenges head-on.”

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