The president of the state’s association of cities and towns says the current and future budget crunches should not be solved on the backs of local municipalities. Matthew Galligan, the town manager of South Windsor and president of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) says his group is willing to be a partner in the solution to the budget problems but that they have done all they can on the local level.
“We have done our very best to cut costs and hold the line,” Galligan tells The Hanging Shad. “We’ve retired out people, changed health plans and done whatever we could. We shouldn’t be chastised by the state. These are commitments made to us [by the governor]. He’s been successful in keeping us whole in the budget. That should continue in the new, upcoming budget.”
Gov. Dan Malloy Friday announced another round of cuts, much of which he has the statutory authority to make. However, he cannot cut aid to cities and towns without the approval of the legislature.
As things stand now, the state’s budget is tens of millions of dollars in debt even after Friday’s announced cuts. Nonpartisan budget analysts predict a $1.3 billion shortfall next year and $1.4 billion in fiscal year 2016-17. The administration though, has yet to craft a new, two-year budget that must by law bring things into balance.
Galligan notes that cutting local aid doesn’t save taxpayers anything. “All it means is that local property taxes have to go up—driving some people out of their homes—or services need to be cut,” he said.
Just how that will be done is yet to be seen.