Cash-strapped municipalities like Woodbridge, Orange and Derby need relief from the state as they prepare municipal budgets at a time when revenues are declining and more people are seeking critical services towns provide, chief elected officials from around the state said at a budget roundtable at the State Capitol Tuesday.
After the forum, Deputy Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby) cited several Republican proposals that could provide the kind of relief the officials are seeking. The forum attracted almost 30 chief elected officials from small-to-medium sized cities and towns. The meeting was held to solicit information and suggestions from the local officials on how the state legislature can assist communities struggling to provide critical services during the current recession.
“Our cities and towns are on the front lines during these tough economic times,” Klarides said. “That is why it is essential for us to come together to address this current crisis and find solution s that will enable us to preserve important services to local citizens. Our state and local governments must be partners in these solutions, which is why House republicans initiated this dialogue and sponsored this event.”
Derby Mayor Anthony Staffieri and Orange First Selectman James Zeoli both attended the discussion at the Capitol.
The roundtable discussion, which included a budget briefing and an outline of Connecticut’s fiscal problems and how they could affect towns and cities from the state legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis, was hosted by House Republican Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk.
House Republicans are supporting several proposals to provide fiscal relief to towns and cities. Those measures would:
Require new unfunded mandate proposals to pass by a two-thirds vote of the state House of Representatives and the state Senate before they can become law (House Bill 5285).
Delay the implementation of a new in-school suspension requirement until July 1, 2012 (H. B. 5705).
Delay from January 1, 2010, to July 1, 2012, the implementation of a requirement increasing the maximum age for juvenile court jurisdiction for youths charged with certain criminal offenses (H. B. 5237).
Allow towns and cities to post legal notices on their municipal websites (H. B. 5214). The bill would not preclude municipalities from placing legal notices in local newspapers as well.
Delay the implementation of a new state mandate that requires towns and cities to post certain information (such as minutes of meetings of local boards and commissions) on municipal web sites until on or after July 1, 2012 (H. B. 5218).