At last night’s public hearing, on the proposed $510 million New Haven budget, many longtime Elm City residents expressed to the Board of Alders that, if the budget’s 4% property tax hike remains, they move out.
“I need to think seriously about whether the City of New Haven deserves to continue receiving what I think is a check made out to charity,” said June Sachs, 61, who has lived in New Haven all of her life.
Gerry Kahn, who has lived in the desirable East Rock neighborhood, since 1979, says he’s definitely moving out of what he calls a wonderful neighborhood.
“I moved in with my wife when she was pregnant with our first child and I raised my family there,” Kahn said.
Mayor Toni Harp says her hands are tied with this budget.
“Our debt service is going up. Our healthcare costs have gone up. Our union contracts were settled and they’ve gone up at least 3 percent,” said the longtime former state senator.
A major impediment for taxpayers: 50% of the city’s grand list is comprised of tax exempt entities. To make up that lost tax revenue, the state is required, by law, to reimburse New Haven for $.77 of every dollar through the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program.
“Governor Malloy and that very sick state political culture have decided that they’re not going to do that, though. So, we’re losing $50 million a year out of our budget,” said Alder 0Michael Stratton (D-19th Ward)
Harp says she is still holding out hope that the New Haven will receive more assistance from Malloy this year.
“If the surplus goes over the $550 million of surplus, that he’s already planned for, cities should really have the opportunity to get those resources,” she said.
Stratton contends he found $100 million of what should be education money hidden in the non-education budget, which is hurting taxpayers.
“The debt service on the school and the health-care benefits, which should be in the education budget, were put into the non-education budget,” said Stratton.