February 3, 2009

City waiting to hear details of bad budget news

Despite a request from the Board of Finance to prepare budget scenarios detailing what will happen if spending cuts are ordered, city officials are doing nothing until they learn the details of what Gov. Jodi Rell proposes tomorrow.
Mayor Art Ward said he wants to “avoid a chaotic and panic situation” within city government if it isn’t necessary.
Fiscal overseers asked for department heads to prepare scenarios of what will happen if they are told to cut 5 or 10 percent from their annual budgets – numbers big enough to require layoffs to meet.
But Ward said he told department heads today to hold off and to do “nothing” for the moment.
“Why speculate on the unknown?” the mayor said. “I don’t think it’s pertinent at this time.”
When the governor details her plan for coping with a shortfall of as much as $10 billion over the next 30 months, the impact of the state’s choices on Bristol and other municipalities should be much more clear.
"We all know what she's going to say: we're in bad shape; we're broke; we need a bunch of money; we can't raise taxes," said state Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat whose 31st District includes Plymouth, Plainville and a piece of Harwinton.
Ward said that depending on what Rell says the city may have to prepare for its worst case scenario for the upcoming budget, a plan that could mean fewer municipal services and perhaps layoffs.
"There's going to be some pain," Ward said.
After listening to Gov. Jodi Rell's speech to the state on Monday evening, the mayor said the situation is dire.
"We're going to have sit down and take stock" after hearing the details of the state spending plan, Ward said.
The mayor said "a stark evaluation" is required and will get underway as soon as solid numbers are available.
Ward said the city has been gearing up for nine months to cope with what is turning out to be a potentially shattering state budget that could dramatically reduce aid to Bristol's schools and to City Hall generally.
If that happens, Ward said, "Everything's on the table."
Ward said the city will "make the moves" it must to protect taxpayers and to preserve the most essential municipal functions.
Ward said he hopes that Democrats and Republicans can pull together.
"The days of partisan politics," he said, "are something of the past. We need to collectively work together."
“We owe it to everybody to be as upfront and as real as possible,” Ward said.
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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

At least Ward already gave his Union boy's a nice contract, so there all set!

Anonymous said...

Art, and the Board of Finance, were given a heads up some time ago.
This situation should not have come as a surprise!

Anonymous said...

I thought Ward was at Hamzy's forum...

Anonymous said...

But did he comprehend?

Anonymous said...

Art, I hope your words below are true and you apply them to anyone that has opposed you in the past, Democrat or Republican.

"The days of partisan politics," he said, "are something of the past. We need to collectively work together."
“We owe it to everybody to be as upfront and as real as possible,” Ward said.

I'll remind you if you don't.

at last said...

6:25 - probably not if you were there slobbering over your own misfortunes rather than trying to recognize the overall problems.
glad that you stayed home mr. johnson.

Anonymous said...

Ken Johnson doesn't have to go to the meetings, he already has all the answers.

Anonymous said...

Seems like we are always waiting to hear nothing but bad news in this town. Hey wait, I thought I voted for "change" (Obama)? and moving things "forward" (Ward). WTF happened??

Anonymous said...

Well, Obama still has us in Iraq. No change there.

Anonymous said...

Change and Forward were BEFORE you voted.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Stortz and Bush weren't so bad after all...

Anonymous said...

Lets see......Obama just took office and we have been in Iraq how long? Grow up you losers. Your guy put us in this mess and we're still in it. How come you war mongers said nothing then ?

Anonymous said...

mr ward when are you going to take a pay freeze for 1 or 2 days like the gov did for 1 day every little bit helps?

What a joke said...

Just gotta love these armchair quarterbacks who KNOW what we shoulda/coulda done to stave off the recession in Bristol. Maybe they should head to Washington and share their superior economic prowess with the rest of the country? Come on fellas, Obama needs you!

Thank a teacher said...

"At least Ward already gave his Union boy's a nice contract, so there all set!"

Honey, it's "they're - the contraction of they are, not "there" the adverb, and there's no need for the apostrophe after boy (its plural, not possessive), but good for you for taking an interest in City government. I'm judging from the pubescent nature of your comment that you're about 8 or 9, right?

Anonymous said...

Lets watch and see what feel good stuff will come up with!

Ward, why don't you try taking on REAL issues instead of your feel good stuff!

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like Ward is taking on the real issues. The economic picture is looking pretty bleak, but Ward is definitely not the reason why.

Anonymous said...

Ward is not the cause of the basic problem, but he is contributing and has contributed to our situation by dragging his feet ever since he got into office.

He, like Obama, seems to delight in the perpetual campaign.

Anonymous said...

Nicastro will solve all our problems by advocation no raise for the council in the future.

But then, he isn't running ('cept maybe for mayor).

Stop the negativity said...

11:33 - I'm not sure exactly what "situation" you think we're in because of Ward "dragging his feet." Bristol has actually fared better than many other communities around the Country. Instead of playing the blame game, wouldn't it make more sense to focus all of our energy on getting behind our leaders and working through this @3$$%! recession together?

Anonymous said...

The situation we are in is that more cuts will have to be made because Ward dragged his feet, and is still doing so when he could be taking action to reduce costs, and thereby minimize the impact of reduced revenue and increased expenses.

But then, he is doing all he is capable of, wherein lies the problem.

Anonymous said...

Whether action is taken now or later is of little or no consequence to the big picture. The impact will be the same.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Ward read Feb 4 11:37, and beat Nicastro to the punch.

Politicians can't even trust other politicians.

Anonymous said...

6:26

Are you saying that if Ward took action earlier, and saved, say $200,000, it wouldn't make any difference?
And if the savings are (could have been ) ongoing, it would mean even more.

Are you Art?