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East Hartford imposes town budget freeze after $1.5 million cuts to state aid

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EAST HARTFORD — East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc announced Tuesday that she is imposing a town-wide budget freeze for the entire 2017 fiscal year.

Due to state budget cuts, the town is losing out on $1.5 million in state municipal aid, Mayor Leclerc said in a statement. That means department directors are asked to reduce discretionary spending, including non-essential training and travel, and all repairs to town vehicles except for those in emergency services.

“The State of Connecticut has closed a nearly $1 billion FY 17 budget deficit with significant budget reductions, employee layoffs in the thousands, and deep cuts to municipal aid,” said Mayor Leclerc. “As a result, the State reduced aid to East Hartford by $1.5 million compared to the level that was expected when the Town Council set the budget on March 8, 2016. I am asking town directors to take the necessary steps to stop all non-emergency spending for the entire fiscal year.”

The town will also place restrictions on overtime, spending, and halt all non-essential hiring, including any unfilled positions.

“Because the state budget situation remains volatile, with more deficits forecasted for the coming years, the Mayor is asking that the spending reductions made this year be sustainable over coming budget years, and advising the Board of Education to expect no additional town contribution in FY 18,” Leclerc said.

Last week, the state legislature passed a $19.7 billion state budget that attempts to fix a $960 million deficit in the new fiscal year.