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#HartfordHasIt? If This is About State Aid, Yes … But Not Without Strings Attached

December 12, 2017 By Staff
#HartfordHasIt? If This is About State Aid, Yes … But Not Without Strings Attached

The capital city took a step away from bankruptcy this week by approving the mayor's request to accept state aid, but some councilmembers didn't want the oversight that comes with aid.

According to reporter by the Hartford Courant, WFSB, and others, the city council in Hartford voted on Monday to accept state aid and step away from the brink of bankruptcy, but not before councilmembers complained about the state oversight that comes with accepting taxpayer dollars.

The Courant‘s Jenna Carlesso reported:

Several council members had expressed steadfast opposition to the oversight, saying it undermined the power of local government. Last year, the group rejected a different plan that would have involved some state intervention in city financial dealings.

…The oversight board will have the power to reject — up to two times — each new labor contract and arbitration award. It also must approve any new debt issued by the city.

WFSB‘s Roger Susanin and Kaitlyn Naples reported that Mayor Luke Bronin (D-Hartford) and the city will “ask the state for at least $40 million due to the budget crisis, some of which would come from the [state’s new] oversight panel.”

In July, Bronin reported in his budget that “[w]ithout additional funding from the State of Connecticut, the City of Hartford cannot responsibly close the FY2018 budget gap of $49.6 million.”

Hartford’s bonds went “junk” in July, amid fears about a looming bankruptcy.

Fortunately for Bronin, who harbors gubernatorial ambitions, the city will probably avoid bankruptcy for now. Unfortunately for taxpayers, it will probably come at the expense of $40 million. At least there’s oversight of Hartford’s finances, despite the city council’s best efforts to avoid it.