Democrats wait until late to reveal city budget proposal

Published on Wednesday, 6 June 2018 21:15
Written by Skyler Frazer

@SFrazerNBH

NEW BRITAIN - The Common Council was expected to adopt a city budget Wednesday night but hadn’t voted by late in the evening.

In April, Mayor Erin Stewart proposed a $237.7 million budget for the next fiscal year, a 1.5 percent reduction from the city’s current operating budget of $241.5 million.

Democrats were expected to introduce their proposed budget at Wednesday’s meeting, but no details of that spending plan had been revealed before press time.

The Stewart budget maintains the current tax rate of 50.50 mills on real estate and personal properties and 45 mills on motor vehicles.

In March, the city’s Board of Finance and Taxation sent a budget recommendation of $251.5 million to Stewart. Both the board’s recommendation and then the mayor’s proposal give the Board of Education the same amount it currently receives, $125.7 million. Including other education costs, $126.6 million is allotted to the school district in Stewart’s budget.

School Superintendent Nancy Sarra has said that an additional $2.5 million is needed to properly fund the school district.

The council met Wednesday to discuss the city’s budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year, and it was expected that Democrats would introduce a revised proposal with additional cuts.

Before the meeting began, more than a dozen residents spoke during public participation, mainly about funding education.

“Our resources are strained and the teachers are doing the best they can to minimize the impact of that,” said Lori Strom, a school district parent.

Nick Mercier, vice president of the Board of Education, said the board and the city’s teachers’ union have both done things to reduce spending, but the need for more money still exists.

Aaron Delaney, a seventh-grader at Pulaski Middle School, said she’s seen firsthand the strain and pressure teachers are under with few resources and large class sizes.

“We should care about them how they care about our children,” said resident Gordon Burns, emphasizing the need to support the district’s teachers.

Since her budget presentation in April, the council’s Democrats have criticized Stewart’s claim that there is no tax increase in the budget.

Alderman Carlo Carlozzi has previously said that since the city’s recent property revaluation increased property values in the city, residents are paying more in taxes even if the tax rate remains the same. A true “no tax increase” would be reducing the tax rate to offset increased property values, Carlozzi has contended.

Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at sfrazer@centralctcommunications.com.



Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Wednesday, 6 June 2018 21:15. Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2018 22:10.