News 8’s Mario Boone went to city hall to ask the mayor if a tax increase was the best option.
“If we could do anything else we would,” said Harp. “We haven’t raised taxes for three years. They went down a little bit last year.” In fact, the mayor seemed to suggest her proposal was modest. “We probably should’ve increased taxes more,” she said.
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But city departmental cuts ranging from five to 15 percent helped avoid a higher tax increase push. As far as who or what is to blame, the mayor cited a reduction in revenue from building permits and cuts in state aid.
“The state reduced their payment to us by over $4 million,” Harp told us.
If passed, the tax increase would primarily impact property owners, but a number of smaller fees would have a broader effect, including hikes to parking violations, licenses and permits, as well as police and health department services. Reaction from taxpayers is mixed.
“I don’t think it would be beneficial,” said city resident Andre Hamilton. “For some people it probably will, but for most, nah. Like, maybe the urban community, I think no,” Hamilton finished.
“Taxes are extremely high in Connecticut, so I don’t think an 11 percent rate increase would be a benefit for us,” Montreal Godley opined.
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One man thought it should at least be considered. “Maybe it’s a good idea, maybe,” said John Smith.
Harp says she’s also asking the city’s labor union for concessions.
“If we can’t find a way to come up with some form of concessions, we’ll have to consider layoffs,” the mayor said.
A public hearing at city hall is scheduled for March 12 at 6:00 p.m.