NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The City of New Haven announced a surplus of money in the budget Tuesday, this after months of job cuts from departments across the Elm City.
The budget surplus comes despite the ongoing concerns and expenses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Justin Elicker says it’s a step in the right direction to getting New Haven fiscally stable.
A pre-audit report set to be released by the city later this week anticipated a $15 million deficit in the budget due to pandemic costs. The city now has an additional $1.9 million added to the fund balance. For the money to go anywhere, though, it would have to be approved by the Board of Alders.
Now, a demand from New Haven Public School custodians. They are contracted under the company Eco-Urban and received word Friday that 160 of them will be laid-off for the next 10 weeks without pay. Dozens of protesters gathered outside of the mayor’s office Tuesday demanding answers and action.
Alberto Bernardez, a custodian and Local 32 Union Leader told News 8, “We were notified on Friday that our members won’t be called in to work for the next 10 weeks starting Monday and we think that’s unfair…To tell those workers who have basically sacrificed, risked their life and cleaned the schools throughout the pandemic without hazard pay.”
Mayor Elicker says he’s been in contact with union leaders for the custodian group and while they are subcontracted employees, he wants to have a conversation to figure out potential alternatives.
Tuesday night, Mayor Elicker said the surplus is simply just that, money in the bank:
“I want to underscore…that just because we have a small surplus does not mean we have loads of money. We have a very difficult financial year that we’re looking at and we still have about $2.5 million in the budget that we’re not sure we will see. We’ve cut a lot of our budget and we continue to make difficult decisions.”
The city now has about $17 million in its rainy day fund, but we want to make clear that even if that money was to get dispersed to a department in need, it would have to be approved by the Board of Alders.