HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin delivered his annual State of the City address on Monday.
The mayor discussed the city’s 2023 budget and Hartford’s progress in the past eight years.
Bronin said the 2023 budget would not increase property taxes, boosts tax credits for the elderly, and proposes an overall spending increase of 3.27%.
“Eight years ago, when my team and I took office, we were facing the biggest fiscal crisis in the city’s history… When we first came in, we knew then we weren’t just cutting into fat but muscle and bone,” Bronin said.
Over the last eight years, the mayor has been able to cut taxes and increase revenue, and with the help of everyone in the city, get the budget back on track.
“We asked our community to be part of it because we had to make some deep and difficult cuts, we asked our unions to come to the table, and they did. We asked our companies to come to the table in big ways, and they did,” Bronin said.
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The unions that suffered cuts and gave concessions to help the city are now being rewarded, especially the police department.
Surging violent crime remains a problem in Hartford. Last year, the homicide rate was at an all-time high in recent history.
The mayor has added more money to the budget to help retain police officers.
“We have made some pretty significant increases in our police compensation and elsewhere,” Bronin said.
As enrollment in Hartford schools continues to decline, they will increase spending per student.
This mayor says this budget preserves and protects the reduction in the property tax rate that the city passed last year, and it adds new relief for seniors and families and youth services.
In the video player above, Hartford residents react to the State of the City address.
“We look forward to seeing our rec centers open longer hours and doing more and delivering more programs to our kids and families because our families deserve it,” Bronin said.
And while progress has been made, he hopes the next mayor will continue to move the city forward and not borrow or add new debt.
“The progress is real but fragile. It has to be protected every single year with rigorous, careful budgeting. It has to be protected every single day and careful management,” Bronin said.