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Perez Presents Hartford's Budget
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Mayor Eddie Perez has submitted his budget for next year to the Hartford city council.  WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports.

Perez says his $544 million dollar budget closes what was a $43 million dollar gap by making some cuts, keeping services in place, and raising taxes.  The budget means a five percent increase in the city’s tax rate, which Perez says will unfortunately hit residential and small business property owners the hardest.

But it also includes increased funding for education, money for new police and fire recruits, and half a million dollars for the arts.

Council President Pedro Segarra says the city council now has a month to review the budget.

“I think that this budget basically now shifts the burden back to council.  We need to see whether we’re willing to have hundreds of homeowners and small business owners face foreclosure or lose their properties.”

Last year’s budget process was marked by tension between the mayor and the city council.  This year, Segarra says the rhetoric is tamer. Meanwhile, as the May 31 budget deadline looms, so does the mayor’s pending criminal trial on corruption charges.  That is set to begin in early May.

For WNPR, I’m Jeff Cohen.