After more than seven hours of debate and discussion, the city council decided to postpone action on its budget until the weekend. It has until May 31 to act.
As it stands, the budget would be $535,768,191 -- with a mill rate of 73.78 mills. That's an increase of 5.44 mills, which council members say could be a roughly 11 percent increase on homeowners.
Interestingly, Council President Calixto Torres will be out of town. City lawyers says he can't participate from afar. UPDATE: Torres later told Cityline that he would likely be forced to skip a trip down the Connecticut River with a boy scout troop he leads in order to make the Sunday meeting.
Shortly thereafter, the mayor called the city council into special session this weekend. See press release below.
MAYOR CALLS COUNCIL BACK INTO SESSION TO PASS BUDGET
(May 28, 2009)--- Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez has called a special meeting of the Hartford City Council for Sunday, May 31st at noon, so that the Council can complete its work on the FY'09-'10 city budget. The Hartford City Council recessed this evening after failing to pass a budget. Failure to pass a city budget by midnight on May 31st will mean that city taxpayers will face an approximately sixteen-mil increase and a budget larger than the Mayor's previously proposed $547 million budget will be automatically implemented. The proposed FY'09-'10 budget presently before the Council has been reduced through the budget process by both the Mayor and City Council by more than $11 million to $535,768.
"In these difficult times the Hartford City Council has an obligation to finish the work the citizens of Hartford hired them to do and pass a budget. We have all made sacrifices in the budget process and though I am not happy with the elimination of the foreclosure assistance program and the cuts of $3 million to the Board of Education, a double-digit mil rate increase would cause tremendous harm to our taxpayers. It is time to put politics and posturing aside, get to work and pass a budget. The choice is clear, pass a budget with a 5.44 mil rate increase or allow an approximately 16-mil rate increase to go into effect. Now is the time to put the interests of our city taxpayers ahead of our political differences," Mayor Perez stated.