Board of Aldermen Approve City Budget for FY 2007-2008
(5/29/2007) (NEW HAVEN)— The Board of Aldermen met this evening to vote on the City’s Fiscal Year 2007-2008 proposed budget. The budget was passed by a significant majority during a meeting that ran over three hours. This year’s budget represents an increase of 6.54 percent or $27.2 million over Fiscal Year 2007’s budget.
“Today’s decision is a hard one for everyone. This budget may not represent everything that everybody wants but it positions us to continue moving forward providing more for our residents and putting the factors and resources in place that make New Haven a good city to live, work and raise a family in,” said Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. “Despite being a difficult budget year, we can celebrate the fact that we are able to freeze property taxes for seniors, implement a phase-in for all other taxpayers and strengthen public safety resources, all while doing our very best to minimize the financial impact on tax paying residents.”
Principal programs in this year’s budget include:
• Senior Property Tax Freeze. The City has frozen property taxes on every senior household earning less than $50,000. For seniors earning over $50,000, they are permitted to defer payment of taxes until whenever they sell their home.
• Public Safety and community policing. Funding for 14 additional officers to bring the sworn strength of the department to 495 officers. This reinforces the City’s commitment to a community-policing program that has seen crime fall by half since 1994.
• Creation of the Mayor’s Department of Youth. The agency coordinates all youth services, Youth Employment program and provides linkage to any number of support programs and agencies.
• The new budget includes an increase of $5 million for the board of education to support the school system. This funding will assist our schools as they continue to work towards closing the achievement gap and accelerating student achievement well before the 2014 deadline set by the No Child Left Behind Act.
“By increasing funding for the board of education we continue to make our New Haven Public Schools, schools of choice that offer real opportunities to students,” said DeStefano. “We dealt with a number of issues throughout this budget such as cost of living increases and the mandatory revaluation that resulted in significant property value increases. But, at the end of the day, I am proud of the services and resources the City is offering to residents and what we will achieve in this new fiscal year.”
Board of Aldermen President Carl Goldfield realized that some sacrifices had to be made to come to a decision on the budget but that in the end, residents would benefit. "We have made every effort, I believe successfully, to limit the amount we spend against the services that our citizens demand and deserve," said Goldfield.
“This budget represents our efforts to address long-term budgeting issues and reduce recurring costs. It was our intention to minimize budget growth and decrease the mill rate to the most fiscally conservative number without endangering loss of services to city residents,” said Alderman Sergio Rodriguez (D-26), Chair of the Finance Committee. “What you come to realize as a member of the Finance Committee is that there is a delicate balance between ensuring that our property tax payers are not over burdened and meeting the City’s fiscal needs. That is our greatest challenge and responsibility.”
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