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Hartford Council Cuts Budget to Avoid Mayor's Tax Hike
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Mayor Eddie Perez’s $457 million budget relies on collecting 8 percent more in property taxes, which means an increase of 8.89 mills. 

Council budget committee chairman Pedro Segarra says that won't fly.

"There's no way that this council is going to vote for a close to nine mill rate increase. That will be devastating for our residential and business sectors."

So council is cutting back on the mayor's spending plan. In public budget deliberations, they eliminated a proposed foreclosure assistance program that would cost $1.5 million. They also cut $3 million out of the board of education budget, to try to nudge teacher's unions to make concessions.

But a similar proposal from Council Democrats to pull $6.4 million dollars from the budget for city workers salary and benefits was tabled after objections from two council members from the Working Family Party. They also postponed a vote that would scrap $1.1 million dollars in city funding for new arts projects.

Donna Thompson-Daniel was among the union members watching from the crowd. She's the president of Hartford's crossing guard union. She says her union supports putting off some pay increases if it means keeping taxes down, since most Hartford workers are also city residents.

"If it can be spread around that all of us take the burden of the pain, then that's the way we like it to be. If that helps someone stay in their home or keep their job, we would rather see that than to not get a raise right now."

The city's public service unions have met with the mayor as recently as this morning.

Mayor Eddie Perez’s spokeswoman Sarah Barr says the union has not yet offered what she calls "substantive concessions."