June 16, 2024

Amid concerns about school funding, Hartford approves new city budget – NBC Connecticut

Hartford City Council has approved a $623 million budget for 2025.

“You know this budget is not everything everybody wanted and we all made choices,” Shirley Surgeon (D–City Council President) said.

The mayor said the budget passed unanimously – something he said hasn’t happened in a long time, and it won’t raise taxes or cut services.

What it might mean for schools got a lot of attention. Parents rallied to help close a more than $31 million deficit for the schools and prevent layoffs.

While state and city leaders previously announced an extra $10 million in funding, councilors decided to also handle the one-million-dollar cost of crossing guards for the district.

“We’d all love to write a check that is much larger and we just we don’t have those funds,” Mayor Arunan Arulampalam (D–Hartford) said.

“We can’t keep cutting any which way to save our schools because the state is the one who’s putting us in that position. We have to fix it. But we could have done a lot better this time,” Joshua Michtom (WF–City Councilmember) said.

Also there are raises including for police, with the department allocated $55 million. Fire and police cadets will increase to $19 an hour.

Lifeguards will see their pay jump to a range of nearly $19 to $28 an hour depending on their position.

“We actually are giving a reasonably rate to get lifeguards in our city so our kids can have some really great sports program for the summer,” Surgeon said.

Councilors say there’s a quarter million dollars in the budget for urban agriculture to help neighborhoods with equitable food and healthy produce.

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