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Thursday, October 2, 2014


With the Bond Rating dropping, tax collections unaccounted for now for several months , how can the City really know what its financial position is?

 And where is the Council on any of these issues? By Charter, the quarterly financial reports should have been submitted to the Council at their first meeting in September. One City Hall source says the reports aren't even done yet and definitely have not been submitted as the Charter requires. This should raise a red flag for the Council and they should be demanding these reports immediately. But in true Council fashion... nothing.

We need a government that functions and is accountable. Otherwise we might as well throw the City Charter out and continue in the direction we are going


As I watch more of the "process" for this baseball stadium, I keep asking myself if this is really the spark that is going to get Hartford moving ahead?

As much as I would hope that it could be, I think it has only gone to reinforce the image that Hartford is a City of fools, run by fools. Nothing about this project has gone smooth  or been presented well. The busway was rolled out smoother than this single, much simpler project . Hartford's Economic Development people were born too late, they probably would have had great futures launching the Edsel.

I think this project was doomed from the start due to the secrecy and lack of information supplied to the populace. The second launch after the original outcry wasn't much better, still no facts, very little financial detail. Just more of the "trust me" from a Mayor whose trustworthy ratings aren't riding too high right about now.

I just keep wondering what will really spark  economic development in Hartford. I don't believe it is stealing a baseball team from one of our neighboring suburb. I really do think that a properly run City Government would draw more attention from developers and business people than any baseball stadium.Wouldn't it be great to hear business leaders saying "we want to be in Hartford, it is so well managed , and it is the place for us to be"

Wouldn't it be nice to hear a developer announce that they are coming to Hartford because they believe in the potential and think Hartford is moving in the right direction. They see the fiscal responsibility at City Hall and want to be part of the growth. Not because a broke City is willing to throw $65million dollars at the feet of greedy developers to buy their love for the City ( I know the $65 million figure has been changed, but can anyone supply real  numbers for the project)

I look at a smaller town like Middletown, that is vibrant and seems to have no problem with Economic Development. Their Main Street is busy and I don't think we hear too much of the bickering and nonsense coming out of Hartford coming from Middletown.

These things make a difference. What developer wants to take a risk on a City like Hartford where more energy is put into corrupt activity like scheming to hand pick an Assistant Fire Chief, who just happens to be sleeping with a City Official. And a Mayor that is willing to put his New Year's Eve Dinner and his caviar on his City Credit Card probably won't impress a hardworking developer that understands the meaning of hard work and proper management to get ahead.

I think if Hartford got its act together and began using basic management skills, that would impress more for the potential of actual Economic Development than gambling on a baseball stadium whose future and potential is sketchy at best. If you really want to gamble , head to Ledyard , not Hartford, our track record isn't the best.


Word began circulating yesterday afternoon that Hartford's Bond rating would be taking a hit today, as it would be downgraded by Moody's, one of the Major Financial rating agency's.

Today it became official. According to sources at Hartford City Hall, one of the major reasons was that Moody's apparently felt that Mayor Segarra was less than truthful when he promised the rating agency last year that Hartford's Rainy Day Fund would be maintained at a level close to $30 million dollars. That apparently didn't happen and is far below that amount. Moody's also cited the City selling off assets to balance the City's budget as a factor.

In a detailed report they felt that the City's actions under Segarra and the Council "put a strain" on the City's abilities to close its deficits. That detailed evaluation can be viewed at

This downgrade will most likely also affect the over $350 million in outstanding bonding the City has out. It most likely will also make it more difficult to borrow money for future projects such as baseball stadiums and schools. Moody's also indicated the rating could most likely be downgraded more if the City doesn't clean up its financial situation.

Below is a release from Councilman David McDonald regarding the downgrade:

Today’s news from the Moody’s that Hartford’s credit rating was downgraded from A1 to A2 with a negative outlook comes at a very inopportune time for our city as we are about to issue $82 million in bonds later this month. This will increase our debt service and negatively affect all future bonding in which several important schools are scheduled for renovation such as Weaver High School.

Also the City Council is currently debating the financially risky development of a baseball stadium in Downtown North. This proposal has the strong possibility of further negatively impacting our budget and worsening our already weak financial position, which in all likelihood will lead to further reductions in our credit rating in the future. 

A downgrade on our credit rating will increase our debt service and cause our already $50 million dollar annual structural deficit to grow even larger. This is why City Council has worked so hard to balance our budgets without using the Fund Balance or mill rate increases. It’s the administration’s responsibility to properly manage the budget to avoid using the Fund Balance. The Mayor promised the credit rating agencies that he would not touch the Fund Balance, yet he has done just that, reducing it from $30 million to around $14 million.

Rather than being fiscally prudent, this administration has been spending millions on a stadium development proposal, appropriations that Council never authorized. This proposal is extremely likely to increase the city’s annual deficit in Years 5 and out. This proposal is not “budget neutral,” as claimed, and it relies on rosy revenue projections that are not tied to realistic revenue assumptions. It will increase the city’s annual deficit, which will further decrease our credit rating, starting a downward spiral not unlike what Detroit experienced.

The people of Hartford deserve much better from their city government. The news of Hartford’s credit rating downgrade heightens the risk associated with the proposed stadium development.

I urge all of my colleagues on the Court of Common Council to reject this unaffordable and financially risky proposal to build a stadium in Downtown North and instead promote affordable and sustainable development for DoNo and focus on protecting our residents and businesses from any potential need to increase taxes. Hartford has many businesses and residents who are struggling with the current tax rate. People can’t afford any higher taxes, and yet this mayor spends money without regard to the struggles of everyday people in Hartford. 

 Contact:  David MacDonald

Harford City Councilman

NBC Connecticut's Len Besthoff was the first to break this story Thursday

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Reading the headline you are probably thinking it refers to investigating corruption at City Hall, but no, I am referring to obtaining funding for the Hartford Police Department. The money from a US Justice Department grant announced this week, $3.6 million, will be used to hire an additional 15 officers

Hartford is the only municipality in Connecticut to receive any funding under the program and received one of the highest amounts awarded nationwide.

Don't expect to see the officers on the streets anytime soon though. The City still has positions from a 2012 grant that have never been filled , despite the City's urgent need to fill vacant positions. HPD's staffing levels are currently the lowest they have been in years and dropping quickly due to attrition and retirements


This just keeps getting worse and worse, but the bottom line is it all comes back to Hartford's incompetent Mayor, Pedro Segarra The latest brush up has been exposed in an e-mail from Councilman David McDonald to the Internal Audit Commission. McDonald is requesting the IAC look into procedures in the Finance Department, specifically the Tax Collector's Office.

According to McDonald' request, over $127,000,000, yes that is $127 million dollars is sitting in the Tax Collectors Office and hasn't apparently been deposited in the bank since July. Besides being extremely risky from a security aspect, it also seems to be an extremely poor financial practice. How much interest alone is lost when that money lays in City Hall rather than in a bank account?

The e-mails below pretty much lay it out clearly, but it should make anyone question if there are any sound business practices in effect at Hartford City Hall .The answer appears to be a solid NO!

In a message dated 10/1/2014 12:57:38 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

This is very troubling. Especially given our budget challenges. I am requesting that the Internal Audit Commission perform an audit of the Reconciliation of Tax Receipts and related processes.

David MacDonald
Councilman. The ltest

Sent from my iPad

On Sep 30, 2014, at 3:11 PM, "Cloud, Adam" <> wrote:

> Ms. Ralls,
> Thank you for your prompt response, however I would like to clarify a few matters:
>  1.  No communication was ever made to this office regarding the time frame associated with resolving these issues by the end of September. Also, it has come to our attention that the batches will be posted back to the months that the deposits were incurred. This is contrary to what was stated in your e-mail from this morning.  Please provide clarification as to when the batches will be posted and why was the decision made not to post to September.
>  2.  Although sending staff is appreciated, what we request is to have the attachments to the tax batches be explicit in the their descriptions. Our challenge isn’t with the work load, we are very capable of executing our responsibilities.   Rather, our ability to discern what deposits at the bank tie to the batches that are being posted is at issue .  Instead of sending the accountants to us, I would recommend that you send them to the Tax Office to provide them with assistance.
>  3.  Although you may believe that this issue will not have a negative impact on our audit, it does not change the fact that significant City revenue has not been reported on our general ledger and as such, doesn’t present the accurate condition of our financials.
> Regards,
> Hon. Adam M. Cloud
> Treasurer
> City of Hartford
> From: "Ralls, Leigh Ann" <>>
> Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2014 07:28:46 -0400
> To: Treasurer Cloud <>>
> Cc: "Hill, Darrell" <>>, Shawn Wooden <>>
> Subject: RE: Reconciliation of Tax receipts
> Treasurer,
> Thank you for your email and I recognize and understand your concern.  I would like to let you know that the following corrective measures are in progress to address this issue.
> Since assuming the Acting Finance Director role last week, I met with the Tax Collector twice regarding these outstanding tax deposits and we have status meetings set up throughout this week.  The tax office will have these receipts reconciled in Munis by the close of September’s books.  This timeframe has been communicated to your staff.  The tax office has been short staffed and have just come out of their busy collection season.   Also, the office has recently filled a crucial role of junior accountant.  This junior accountant’s primary training has been on reconciling these receipts.  These reconciliations are also a major part of his daily responsibilities going forward.  I apologize for the inconvenience this has placed on your staff.  I am more than willing to send one or two of the accountants from Accounting and Control to your office to help your staff reconcile these deposits which will help relieve the burden that this places on their day to day responsibilities.
> As far as the auditors, I do not believe there will be a negative impact on our audit.  These deposits are recorded in the QDS system which is the system of record for tax and all of the money has been deposited at the bank.  According to discussions I have had with the auditors during implementation of QDS, the frequency to which we bridge over these transactions is our decision.
> Please let me know who I should coordinate scheduling with on your staff to assist with the reconciliations.
> Leigh Ann
> From: Cloud, Adam
> Sent: Monday, September 29, 2014 5:19 PM
> To: Ralls, Leigh Ann
> Cc: Hill, Darrell; Shawn T. Wooden
> Subject: Reconciliation of Tax receipts
> Leigh Ann,
> I am writing to express my concern over the delay in the reconciliation of the tax receipts for both the pooled cash account and the fast pay program.  As you are aware, my office has on numerous occasions  informed both finance and the tax department to no avail about the failure to properly post these entries.  This failure has an immediate and significant impact on how my office does its job in that we are charged with reconciling these accounts and rather than being able to process these transaction we are literally at a stand still.  Further, it will be an undue burden for my staff to have to dedicate its time and resources to reconcile these accounts all at once simply because the tax office has failed to do its job.  In addition, this delay  will have a negative impact on our audit.  The fact that we have $127m of deposits not journaled since July is unacceptable and most certainly will be a matter that will be raised in the management letter from our auditors.
> Therefore, I formally request that the finance department respond to this concern immediately so as to not place any further burden on my staff and to avoid any future consequences resulting from the upcoming audit.
> For your benefit and review below is the outstanding bank entries on Pool Cash for Tax that have not been brought into MUNIS for July and August 2014.  It is a total of $117,312,021.96.

Monday, September 29, 2014


Once again, another Internal Audit shows that the Segarra Administration will do whatever it wants and the rules just don't apply

Paying invoices before the contracts are even signed? Something stinks. Where is the Department of Justice ?