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Towns Worry about Impact of State Budget Bickering
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Even though Governor Jodi Rell's budget keeps major funding for towns and cities mostly flat, Jim Finley, the director of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, is worried.

"What I'm concerned about is if we continue to drift at the capitol without the governor and legislative leaders getting together and trying to come up with a common path out of this budget deficit situation, is that cities and towns will be at risk."

West Hartford Mayor Scott Slifka is more pointed in his criticism of state officials. He says mayors have been confronting and preparing budget alternatives for months, but there has not been the same urgency in Hartford.

"You know mayors are busy doing the work right now and trying to solve the problem. They don't have time for the posturing that you see at the capitol."
 
The governor and Democratic lawmakers have both proposed new incentives for cooperation across town borders, but Mayor Slifka believes regionalization's cost-saving benefits are being oversold.

"I get concerned when some of my mayoral colleagues pitch regionalism as the solution to everything. It's not. It will help on the margins. It will help save money. Again, this gets down to people and whether we are willing to pay for those people to provide those services any more, and that's discussions that are not happening on any level of government right now."
 
In addition to flat state funding, towns are lobbying for flexibility to raise local revenue and for relief from certain unfunded mandates.

Finley and Slifka were guests on CPTV's On the Record. See the full interview here.