Mayor Art Ward said Friday that department heads have managed to find ways to carve spending out of the $173 million budget approved by the Board of Finance.
As a result, he said, the proposed spending plan could contain less than a 4 percent increase in the mill rate instead of the 6.5 percent originally envisioned.
"We don't have any money," Ward said, so there's no choice but to ratchet down spending.
The mayor said the lower numbers likely won't cause any layoffs, but there will be an impact on the city's ability to provide services that residents have come to expect.
State Rep. Frank Nicastro, a Bristol Democrat, said taxpayers better brace themselves.
He called this year's budget woes "the tip of the iceberg."
Nicastro, who is also a city councilor, said that this year's state budget situation is "terrible," but it will get worse next year. He said municipalities will get hit even harder.
Ward said that he knows people are going to struggle to pay property tax bills with energy and food costs up so much, particularly with revaluation's slight shift of the overall tax burden more onto the shoulders of homeowners.
"That's the times we're in," the mayor said.
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