The mayor of East Hartford has issued a town-wide budget freeze for the entire fiscal year 2017 because state budget cuts resulted in a $1.5 million shortfall and she is asking town directors to stop all non-emergency spending.
“The State of Connecticut has closed a nearly $1 billion FY 17 budget deficit with significant budget reductions, employee layoffs in the thousands, and deep cuts to municipal aid,” Mayor Marcia Leclerc said in a statement.
Now, the town will have to make $1.5 million worth of cuts to the recently approved $181 million budget.
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“As a result, the State reduced aid to East Hartford by $1.5 million compared to the level that was expected when the Town Council set the budget on March 8, 2016. I am asking town directors to take the necessary steps to stop all non-emergency spending for the entire fiscal year,” she added.
She has asked department directors to immediately reduce discretionary spending, including non-essential training and travel, and all repairs to town vehicles except for those in emergency services.
To help stabilize the budget and avoid layoffs, Leclerk said East Hartford will place restrictions on overtime, spending, and halt all non-essential hiring, including any unfilled positions.
She is also asking that the spending reductions made this year be sustainable over coming budget years and is advising the Board of Education to expect no additional town contribution in fiscal year 2018.
The upcoming budget includes cuts for the board of education, town operations, post employment benefits and health insurance.
The cuts will be a shared sacrifice between departments, many of which will take about a 10 percent hit, she said.
The modified department budgets will be due by July 1.