Mayor Art Ward said he's still "striving for 0%" for the coming fiscal year's budget so that property taxes won't rise.
But it's becoming clear that pulling it off may be a trick that officials can't quite muster.
There's an $8 million gap between the city's proposed spending and its anticipated revenues -- after departments submitted spending plans that contain pretty much nothing extra. Nearly half the increase is sought by the schools so they can keep doing what they're doing now.
To push for relief from unfunded mandates by the state that force the city to spend on less critical areas at a time when crucial government services are threatened.
School Superintendent Philip Streifer half-joked that he'd be better off if the state simply mandated everything.
Ward said he's going to keep pushing in Hartford, trying to get lawmakers to see the light and offer some help.
The mayor said he is "somewhat amazed and a little perplexed" that legislators generally don't seem to care what he and thousands of other local officials have to say.
"I'm going to continue to strive for it," Ward said. "Something has to happen."
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