The Board of Aldermen approved Mayor John DeStefano Jr.’s $464 million budget for the 2009-’10 fiscal year in a unanimous vote Tuesday night.
The new budget, which puts a freeze on last year’s mill rate and property revaluation, will ensure that no New Haven resident pays higher property taxes this year than they did last year – a boon for many struggling amid the current financial crisis, DeStefano said in a Tuesday statement.
Approved with some minor adjustments earlier this month by the Finance Committee, the budget represents a 1.8 percent increase in spending over last year’s budget.
The Board of Aldermen made only one change to the mayor’s proposed budget, which had been presented to them in February: They voted to add an amendment requiring the city to sell $18.5 million in local bonds to fund various capital improvement projects in neighborhoods around New Haven.
But because New Haven’s budget relies so heavily on funding from the state, the city’s monetary allocations for the next year will not be set in stone until the Connecticut budget is finalized.
“While we’ve achieved a great deal with this budget … there are still hurdles in our path as we await the State’s budget to be passed,” DeStefano said in his statement. “We continue to call for adequate funding from the State and options to increase revenues without creating increased financial pressures for New Haven families.”
The budget provided continued funding for several initiatives, including the Street Outreach Workers program, the Open Schools program and the police academy’s new class of 45 officers-in-training.
DeStefano’s budget was made possible in part by a series of already instated cutbacks; in his Feb. 26 budget proposal meeting, DeStefano announced plans to lay off 27 unionized city employees and suggested that he may lay off 100 public school employees over the summer. At the time, the mayor blamed the need for layoffs on the city’s “dreadfully regretful” dealings with union leaders — only two of the city’s 14 unions had struck deals with the mayor to accept cutbacks and concessions.
The city also closed three of its senior centers, a move that drew several complaints from New Haven’s elderly residents.
The budget will take effect July 1.