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Towns Worry about Delayed Local Road Funding
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The Rell administration and Democratic lawmakers continued budget negotiations this week for the new fiscal year. The governor has signed an executive order to pay the bills in the meantime.

Rell's budget spokesman Jeff Beckham says that in the absence of a new biennial budget, the governor's executive order will cover essential government services through the month. 

"What that means is that if there is a law somewhere or contract somewhere that says a payment will have to be made, she will make those, because we have a legal obligation to do that."

That means state employees will keep getting paychecks. State parks will stay open. State roads will keep getting paved.

But an $11 million dollar grant for local road maintenance didn't make the cut, and that has towns concerned.

"Don't necessarily blame your mayor of First Selectman for the potholes."

Jim Finley is the head of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

"The fact of the matter is right now towns and cities are waiting for a funding commitment they thought the state had made to them."

Without the grant that usually comes on July 1, Finley says some towns are borrowing to cover costs, while others are putting off maintenance that was scheduled for the summer construction season.

The last time Connecticut started the fiscal year without a budget, towns did not have to wait for the local road money, because it was included in the emergency funding plan. 

That was back in 2003, when a budget deal was worked out by the end of July.

But Rell budget spokesman Jeff Beckham cautions, the state revenue shortfall back then was a whole lot less deep and not as widespread across the economy.