Mayor John DeStefano Jr. on Tuesday announced the measures the city has recommended that the state legislature pass in 2010.
The agenda targets three areas: local finances, regional finances and “quality of life” proposals. Initiatives DeStefano supports include a law that would establish a statewide property tax and another that would give a municipality’s chief law enforcement officers the last word in approving liquor permits, an act DeStefano said could curb some of the recent violence outside downtown New Haven nightclubs. DeStefano, speaking at a press conference at City Hall, also discussed the establishment of a gun offender registry, which he said will help the city locate and provide treatment for ex-offenders to reduce repeat offenses.
DeStefano said Connecticut’s looming budget deficit was an important consideration when crafting the city’s legislative agenda for 2010. The state’s projected budget deficits for fiscal year 2012 and 2013 are $3.3 billion $3 billion.
“Fiscal year ’11 is going to be a very difficult fiscal year,” he said. “However fiscal years ’12 and ’13 are going to be incredibly difficult fiscal years.”
To improve the city’s financial situation, the city is advocating for the implementation of a statewide property tax that the state would distribute to local governments through existing programs like Payment in Lieu of Taxes and Mashantucket Pequot/Mohegan, which provide funds to the state’s municipalities, DeStefano said.
While the mayor described the economic outlook for the state as bleak, Ward 23 Alderman Yusuf Shah, chair of the aldermanic finance committee, had an optimistic view.
“I don’t want to forecast too much doom and gloom because New Haven is a special place,” he said, explaining that the city government works cohesively.
The “quality of life” initiatives DeStefano discussed include red-light cameras at traffic lights and the gun offender registry.
Amy Meek LAW ’09, the city’s prison re-entry initiative coordinator, said that once gun offenders reach the end of their paroles or probations, the city loses contact with the offenders. Meek said a gun offender registry would hold past offenders accountable, while also establishing a network that can provide them with services and guidance.
Board of Aldermen President Carl Goldfield said he thinks the agenda items that would bring more revenue into the city are “practical.” But he said he is not sure about the gun offender registry because he does not know how successful it will be in reducing crime in the city.
“My gut instinct is it’s not going to have a tremendous amount of impact on gun crime in the city,” he said.
Adam Joseph, the liaison to New Haven’s state legislative delegation, said the delegation has received the city’s agenda and delegates have submitted all the bills in the state legislature.
The mayor will present his budget for the city to the Board of Aldermen on Monday.