EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — State aid cuts would have left over 35 local children without jobs this summer. But, Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr. announced on Thursday that despite the State’s elimination of a $26,000 dollar grant to East Haven to fund its summer work program for low-income youths, he has instructed the Town’s Finance Director to re-appropriate Town monies to fill the gap and to ensure that all of the Town’s eligible youths have the opportunity to participate in the Town’s “2017 Workforce Alliance” program.
Maturo explained, “The Town’s ‘Workforce Alliance’ program is a critical resource to our community’s youth insofar as it builds work ethic and gives low-income youths the opportunity to build their resumes with safe, constructive jobs. For most participants, this program provides a ‘first job,’ which helps set them apart from others as they seek other employment as they grow older. As a result, I’ve instructed our Finance Director to re-appropriate $26,000 dollars of Town monies to ensure that all income-eligible Town youths have the opportunity to participate in this invaluable program.”
Maturo added, “The State is currently facing a multi-billion dollar deficit and is carrying $22.5 billion dollars in long term debt, up from $16.2 million just nine years ago. Robbing $26,000 dollars in funding from our children and creating additional obstacles to finding first-time employment is not the way to solve the State’s budget issues.”
The State stands in stark contrast to the Town of East Haven, which has seen its long term debt drop from $48.1 million in the 2010-2011 fiscal year to $23.1 million in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, a reduction of 52% in just six fiscal years. Over that same period, the Town instituted the largest tax decrease in a non-revaluation year since 1989 and earned two credit rating upgrades, including a two-tier upgrade from Standard and Poor’s in 2016 to “A+.”
Over 1,270 youths in the New Haven County and Middlesex County regions are income-eligible to participate in the Workforce Alliance program, including a number from East Haven. Over 5000 youths are employed each year through this program Statewide.
Maturo explained, “Our plan, for this summer, is to employ all income-eligible children and participants at a minimum of approximately 10-hours per week. Although this represents a slight reduction from the 15 hours that grant-funded participants would receive under normal funding circumstances, this will ensure we can accommodate every income-eligible East Haven youth who wishes to participate this summer.”
Maturo concluded, “I have always been a champion for our children and I simply will not allow them to be penalized for the State’s budget woes, which our children bear absolutely no blame in creating. We will continue to strive to ‘do more with less’ in East Haven this summer with the ‘Workforce Alliance’ program and moving forward in light of all of the other impending cuts in aid from the State.”
For more information, contact Frank Gentilesco at 203-468-3204.