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Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Well, Mayor Bronins 2017-2018 budget has been released. It is far from a done deal and will most likely be tweaked over the next several weeks as the Hartford City Council begins their work before submitting a final budget, probably tweaked to add more special favors and garner political support, rather than tough decisions to bring financial sustainability to Hartford.

But one thing is clear in the budget, Bronin has no trouble gambling with Hartford's future. Whether it is borrowing $20 million plus for "short-term" budget gap closing measures or failing to show any vision or leadership with budget cuts, Bronin's budget is short on vision and leadership for Hartford's sustainability.

Some days, I  expect Bronin to ask City Treasurer Adam Cloud for a sack of cash with a couple hundred thousand dollars so that Bronin can head to Foxwood's and put it "all on red" or maybe see him in line buying a couple hundred thousand Power Ball tickets at a corner bodega , hoping to hit it big to solve Hartford's deficit crisis.

The casino or Power Ball both have about as much chance of hitting it big as does Bronin's hopes of a huge windfall from the State of Connecticut next year. Much of that hope is based on revenue from the Hospital Tax being contemplated by the Legislature. I would go with the Power Ball option Luke, the odds of hitting that are probably better than the Hospital Tax passing.

But what the heck, lets borrow $20 million hoping it can be paid back. Bankruptcy is always an option for Hartford, so why not roll the dice.

I again have to ask, what is the plan and where is the vision? An $11 million dollar budget increase is reckless, especially when we keep hearing the threat of Bankruptcy. And the continued excuses really are wearing thin. It is time for tough decisions and that needs to be done now. It may not further the Bronin's political aspirations , but  Bronin wasn't elected because of where he hopes to be on the political ladder 10 years from now. He was elected to run the City of Hartford today and for the next two and a half years and some of those tough decisions he needs to make won't make him politically popular.

How does New Britain do it? Maybe Mayor Stewart would be willing to give some mentoring lessons to Luke

Really, $250,000 for heated bus stops and laptops in the libraries? Are we serious about positioning Hartford for the future or are we all about the feel good now? Can you hear our suburban neighbors doubled over in laughter. We can't even pay our sewer bills, but now heated bus stops? Are  the manicurists providing services at the bus stops going to be City employees or independent contractors? Just asking because I can see it coming. And will the bus stops have cable TV and internet ? I think many people using mass transit in Hartford would just be happy with a bus stop, period, heated or not.

Heated bus stops at the same time we lay off lifeguards at the City pools and contemplate cutting over $200,000 from senior Centers and programs for our senior citizens? Really Luke?

And just another quick observation, if the Citizen budgeting is supposed to encourage participation, then why in a City of over 120,000 residents did less than 1% participate. Apparently about 1,200 people actually turned out to cast a vote. But at least they could feel good when they did vote.

Those tough decisions are part of the strings attached to the $50 million pledge made by Hartford's Corporate leaders. One of the strings were that the money need to be accompanied by a Viable plan for sustainability for the future of Hartford. Increasing the budget by $11 million while revenue and taxes are pretty much flat and hopes of additional State funding are a long shot at best and the Union concessions we keep banking on don't seem to be coming through. These are not viable plans for sustainability.

There is still an awful lot of fat at City Hall, even though we keep hearing about the "bare bones". When is someone finally going to have the guts to cut the number of City Council assistants? That is not directly under the Mayor's control, but it would be a good spot to start. How effective is the Office of Corporation Counsel, and do we still need all those attorneys if just about everything legal is already contracted out to other outside law firms? The use of City cars is still an issue, especially with the number of SUV's in use as opposed to economy and energy efficient vehicles. And the City regulation that the cars only be used for City business seems to be about as much a waste as the paper to print the regulations.

There also needs to be better supervision to ensure that every dollar we are spending, especially overtime, is being used effectively. That includes people that are paid double time on holidays like Good Friday and then hide in a substation all day watching cable TV and drinking espresso, while their supervisors watch.

 Now is the time for effective leadership, not gambling with Hartford's future.


Anonymous said...

We did our part at HFD signing our terrible contract under an implied duress from our union. No raises for 4 years, new crap health insurance, much larger contributions to the pension fund to the tune of 1200 to 1800 a month for some guys, and some new mandatory health fund. We are all making significantly less yet still expected to perform at the top of our game to satisfy all these firestat logistics. The guys are burnt out, morale is low. The company closure should have been an option, we could of handled it if our pay was commensurate. Do we still need the tac? Nice luxury to have but what do they cost every year to stage or be cancelled en route 15 times a day. Our ladder trucks can recieve extra equipment and training to soften the blow, many truck companies would accept the work, spending the majority of the day parked in quarters gets old.... well at least for those that love the job.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, you are absolutely right. On holidays, non-essential means non-essential. That equates to patrol officers only working. All these CSO's, SID, VIN, CSD, Planning and Accreditation, FVRT, MCD,'s a known fact it's cart blance, all the non-essentials come in to work holidays (and do nothing) to deliberately grab the holiday pay. It's time that is put to a stop, its ignored by everyone including the chief. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on holidays for nothing.

Anonymous said...

I recently asked the DPW to install a speed bump on my street and I was told I may not get it because "there's no money for it". I will cite this article when speaking to Channel 3 if I don't get the speed bump.

Anonymous said...

This all sux. Agreed.... Think about the salary class that has no opertunity to close the gap with OT. Same ..Same isn't so same...

Anonymous said...

Stop belly acheing about the HFD contract, you signed that POS but thats what happens when Vinny does his quick pitch the sky is falling BS. Deals like this need to be carefully considered not hastilly ratified. Someone should call for a federal investigation of local 760 and especially its leadership and related finances.why would anyone advise the membership to jump on such a horrble agreement? The part that is great is the 11% for pension as i am retired and thank you all for keeping me well funded, "for now".get feds involved,impeach Vinny and get that contract void.close a couple companies and run leaner. All that BS I bought into like being on scene in 4 minutes? No body cares except the victim in the moment, polticians, Bronin,even the citizens
Dont care in the end they will sell you out.I put my heart and sole in it for years, The reward? Wake up every day waiting to find the pension and med benefits i worked and contracted for have been cut or stripped.My Advice, if your under 30
And under10 yrs? Walk.