Hamden may face multi-million dollar municipal aid shortfall

The budget season from hell just won’t quit – now municipalities like Hamden and North Haven are grappling with what in some cases is considerable and unexpected cuts in state aid.

In Hamden, that cut could be anywhere from $2.5 to $5 million dollars, an amount that could be disastrous for its budget.

Hamden Mayor Curt Balzano Leng with son Cooper.

“Hamden is facing a reduction in state revenue that appears to range between a cut of $3,000,000 to potentially over $5,500,000 in budgeted state revenue,” Mayor Curt Balzano Leng said.

“This is devastating to Hamden’s efforts to improve our finances with steady improvements year over year,” he said. “Losing 10 percent to 17 percent of Connecticut revenue in just one year would be devastating to any municipality.”

And it seems the town has been singled out to face that fate this year.

“The State of Connecticut pushed an enormous burden onto Hamden taxpayers,” Leng said. “We are hopeful that our delegation leaders will help us to reduce this shocking cut, because the alternative choices are not good for our town.”

But the picture might not be that grim, according to state Rep. Michael D’Agostino, D-91.

“We should be getting $2.8 million to make up for the car tax, but that money has been held up. I am working to free it,” D’Agostino said. “Aside from that, we are getting hit with a $155,000 reduction in aid as a hold back constituting Hamden’s share of the senior renter rebate program. After that, we should be harmless.

“But the big issue right now if freeing up that car tax funding,” he said. “We are aware of the issue and are working on it.”

He’s not sure if the state legislators will be called back into session again to deal with it. “We do not know yet.” he said.

“I will not support a tax hike,” said Republican Minority Leader and

Hamden Republican Minority Leader and Councilwoman-at-Large Marjorie Bonadies.

Councilwoman-at-Large Marjorie Bonadies. “This could be a mill and a half hike in taxes.”

Rather than raise taxes, the town needs to look at places to cut the budget to make up for the shortfall, Bonadies said.
“There has to be cuts in the budget,” she said. “Overtime for Public Works, police and fire are out of control.”
In North Haven, the picture isn’t quite so grim. There, the amount of aid they may be forced to make up is much less than it is in Hamden, and can probably be absorbed into the budget.
We are not quite sure yet” what the final numbers will be, North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda said.
North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda.

“We budgeted very conservatively, so we are now comparing the budgeted numbers for this year versus the new numbers,” he said. “The impact may actually be less than the $953,000 loss because that loss is versus what we received last year, versus what we budgeted, which was much less than what we received last year.

“The impact may be more like $450,000, which I can make up with no changes,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.