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Hartford City Council approves controversial budget; 100 positions eliminated; at least 40 laid off

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HARTFORD - With only one "no" vote, the Hartford City Council approved a spending bill of $552.9 million for next fiscal year.

The budget includes across the board cuts to various city services including libraries, parks and recreation, arts and entertainment, and special events. At one point, up to three city library branches were in danger of closing but last-minute revisions saved them.

"Facing the crisis we face today, facing a $50 million budget gap in the coming year, we have no choice but to make some very difficult cuts and to ask for some significant concessions during labor negotiations," said Luke Bronin, Mayor of Hartford.

The city is still facing a projected shortfall of around $16 million which, city leaders said, would be made up from labor union concessions, but Bronin didn't elaborate on the status of talks Monday night.

"It was very difficult," said T.J. Clarke, Hartford City Council president. "We had to really think about where we're going to cut, where we're going to restore. All the department heads fought for their departments, and, at the end of the day, we had to decide how we're going to balance this budget."

The budget goes into effect July 1.