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Hartford budget gap grows to $22 million; city may run out of money by next year

HARTFORD - Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin addressed the city's finances Thursday morning.

The city is facing a Fiscal Year 17 budget gap of $22 million and a FY18 gap of $50 million if city labor unions don't agree on concessions.

Bronin also told the state's Municipal Finance Advisory Commission that the city may run out of money by next June, or by as early as December.

Bronin said he is committed to avoiding bankruptcy but he said he is up against a broken system.

"We will have exhausted the fund balance and we will not have additional funding available to meet all our obligations as of June," said Bronin. "You can't run a city based on the property tax when you've got less taxable property than Glastonbury, Manchester, or West Hartford. That's a system that's broken and we need to fix it. If we do fix it we have the chance to have a city that is the engine of growth for the entire region."

He said it is a system that relies 100 percent on property taxes to raise local revenue.

The issue is - Hartford doesn't have as much taxable property as other cities.

The focus of today's meeting was to explore taking a regional approach when it comes to sharing services and reducing costs.

The Commission is responsible for proposed regulations regarding the standards for municipal audit reports, to improve city finances.

Bronin said this isn't just about Hartford's success or failure, but about Connecticut's success or failure. He said you can't be a successful state if you have a city in crisis.

"There's a limit to how much you can tax before you really strangle a city and a limit to how much you can but before you are hollowing out a city and are unable to deliver those basic city services that allow you to keep a city safe, clean, growing," said Bronin.