Hartford fighting the possibility of bankruptcy with help from other cities, towns

HARTFORD--First-term Hartford Mayor Luke Bonin is scrambling to fix what he calls a “broken system” and keep the city out of bankruptcy.

Bronin told FOX 61 on Monday that he’s committed to avoiding Chapter 9, but says he's up against a broken system that relies 100 percent on property taxes for local revenue.

“You've got a city that just doesn't have enough property. It's got less property than the surrounding towns.”

Kevin Maloney, with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, feels a regional approach would make a big difference.

“Work cooperatively with the suburban towns to find where services can be shared and be done regionally, which would not only reduce the cost for the cities, but hopefully would reduce the costs for suburban towns,” Maloney said.

A panel has already been formed with leaders from larger cities like Bridgeport, New Haven, Waterbury, and other surrounding suburbs that will meet monthly to discuss this option.

Bronin said, “This isn't about Hartford's success or failure. This is about Connecticut's success or failures, the region's success or failure. You can’t be a suburb of nowhere, you can't be a region or a growing state if you've got a city that's in crisis.”

Mayor Bronin acknowledges a nearly $50 million hole in this year's budget has left city services at a bare minimum and the city could face another $50 million deficit next year. “You can't cut your way to growth and you can't tax your way to growth,” said Bronin.