Hartford city council passes debt payoff agreement

HARTFORD --  Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin released a statement Monday after the City Council passed a resolution authorizing the city to enter into a contract assistance agreement with the state.

According to Bronin's office, under the contract assistance agreement, the state will assume the responsibility for paying the city’s annual debt service payments.

Hartford also expects to refinance the debt at the direction of the state to ensure that the annual debt payments do not exceed $40 million, according to Bronin's office.

“Our primary mission over the last two years has been to put Hartford on a sustainable fiscal path, without faking it or doing things that might buy time but make the problem worse down the road,” said Mayor Bronin.  “We cut tens of millions of dollars in spending, negotiated dramatic savings with our labor unions, and secured a commitment from our biggest employers to be part of a comprehensive solution"

Bronin added, "We also made clear from the beginning that even the most draconian cuts and the most dramatic labor concessions would not be enough to provide fiscal stability to a city built on the tax base of a suburb, with half its property tax-exempt, and with rising fixed costs locked in years ago.”

Bronin said last fall, they made the case to legislators from both parties that there were only two true paths to solvency: bankruptcy, or a new partnership with the state of Connecticut.

“When you combine this agreement with the deep cuts we made, the significant labor savings we achieved, and the commitment from our corporate community, we can see a path to balanced budgets for the next five years," Bronin said. "Those budgets will be very tough and very tight, but for the first time in decades, we will be able to look people in the eyes and tell them that their Capital City is looking at balanced budgets instead of a sea of red ink.”