It seems that it should be criminal to submit a municipal budget based on phony numbers, but apparently Mayor Pedro Segarra has no problem doing that. Last year Segarra's budget included $3 million dollars in revenue apparently obtained from concessions from Hartford's Municipal employee Unions.
The fact of the matter is that at the time that the numbers were built into Hartford's budget, not one penny was given back by any of the Union's to achieve the cost savings. The Segarra Administration didn't even seriously talk to the Unions until late last fall to even discuss concessions.
The result was pretty much predictable. A solid "NO" from the Union's. I can't say I blame them. For years, the reckless spending that goes on at Hartford City Hall has been initiated by Segarra and his predecessors and allowed by the Hartford City Council.
Going back to the Union's every year at budget time to balance the budget on the backs of City employees is wrong. It is especially a tough sell asking some of Hartford's lowest paid employees to give back when the reckless spending by Segarra is so publicly obvious. You knew it would never fly after the caviar incident and then the abuses of credit cards and City vehicles. This administration is just bleeding tax payers dollars without any regard to where those dollars come from.
If the Union's did give back the $3 million dollars, our reckless Mayor would just find a way to spend it all.
Employees in City Hall witness the reckless spending everyday. I still get phone calls about the few hundred thousand spent to move the Office of the Corporation Counsel from the third floor to the second floor. For what? So Pedro could be closer to Sandy to be able to get her excellent advice quicker?
And don't forget the Mayor's "scheduler". Almost $60,00.00 a year to follow Segarra around tracking his e-mails and appointments. If only the Unions had given back the Scheduler could get a larger I-pad and maybe a nice City car also.
Reckless, reckless, reckless, there is no other way to describe Segarra's spending. Any Union President that would take any request for concessions back to their membership ought to be impeached immediately.
I was amazed yesterday when I read in the Hartford Courant that the Mayor has decided to give $1 million dollars to the Bushnell Park Carousel. Here is Steve Goode's story from the Courant.
Now I do believe in the things that draw excitement to Hartford, but I also believe in taking care of first things first. And the first responsibility of the government of the City of Hartford is to provide the basic Municipal services required to run the City.
The article starts off by stating that the Carousel is getting a $1 million dollar gift. Too bad the Union's didn't give back, we could have at least given some of Hartford's hard working Municipal employees credit for the million dollar gift.
Why not call on the Bushnell Park Foundation to kick in to sponsor the Carousel (they might already, but then again isn't that why the foundation is there?). Why not start the Bushnell Park Carousel Restoration fund and get others to kick in. If the year round opening and restoration of the Carousel is going to generate that much business, it shouldn't be a tough sell to get the City businesses that will benefit, to help out.
What about using the park and getting the Public to help raise the funds? We have a beautiful bandshell that could be used for a series of Concerts for the Carousel to raise funds. And I tend to think that riders from the suburbs probably spend a lot more time on the gilded horses than Hartford children do, yet we are expected to foot the full bill?
A quote in the article highlights one of the benefits of the restoration says that it will "enable students to learn about its ( the Carousel's) rich history" how about taking the students another block up the Hill to the Capitol and let them start learning about the rich history of our state and what Civic involvement means.
And the fact that the money comes from the Capital Improvement Budget should not put any one's mind at ease. That is money we will pay the interest on for the next 20 years. And take a look at Hartford's streets. I think that $1 million dollars could be used to repair our City's infrastructure. What good is a renovated Carousel if you ruin your car hitting potholes to get to it.
And I know budget time is coming so if Segarra is in the "gift giving" mood, maybe rather than giving a $1 million gift to the Carousel, he could show some leadership and start a fund raising effort for the Carousel. I think the people of Hartford might also appreciate a "gift" . My suggestion would be a class of police officers to give us a gift we could really use, safer streets and neighborhoods. That might actually draw more people downtown. Probably more than freshly painted horses bouncing in a circle