Platform Issue #3-State Budget Impact on Bristol

Zoppo-Sassu for Mayor Campaign Discusses State Budget Implications for Bristol

Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, Democratic candidate for Mayor, issued a press release today discussing the potential
financial impact to Bristol with the lack of an approved State budget.

“At this point, I think the City needs to create a plan that protects core services if in fact the worse scenario
comes to pass,” Zoppo-Sassu said. “While it is hard to plan for the unknown, there are steps that can be taken as
a precaution so the City has a plan and is ready to pivot when and if state reductions in aid are announced. It is
not a good scenario if we are simply left to react.”

With school set to begin at the end of this month, there is also concern about the level of education funding that
may be available. “If we look at ways to reduce, freeze or temporarily hold off on items that are not essential,
the City will have more money on hand to deal with difficult choices that may have to be made down the road.”
“Temporary hiring freezes, a hold on conferences and travel, as well as discretionary spending, halting
demolition that is not a public safety hazard, and monitoring non-essential overtime are all small pieces that
together could be very helpful to Bristol if there are further delays with the state budget,” stated Zoppo-Sassu.
“I would suggest that it would be appropriate for the Board of Finance and City Council to discuss deferring
large capital expenses until state funding is known, especially those projects for which state funding like LOCIP
funds are anticipated. The City is in the process now of carrying over funds from the last fiscal year to the
current fiscal year. If there are departments that did not spend all their 2016-17 funds, I believe a hard look
should be taken at those accounts and the management of such for this coming year.”

Recent calculations of U.S. Census Bureau Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances data show
most cities and towns have been steadily receiving less state aid over the last decade. Due to this and other
uncertainties, the CT Conference of Municipalities (CCM) successfully pursued legislation that would allow
cities and towns to re-open their local budgets after the fiscal year is underway to make adjustments to revenues
and the mill rate, if necessary, once the state budget is approved. Some cities and towns held back on sending
out tax bills in July, for fear they may have to send out supplemental tax bills. Other cities and towns included
the cost of their town’s share of the teacher retirement numbers just to be safe, or are already making changes to
library hours and other services to be ready.

“I don’t know what direction the mayor has given to departments, but my direction would be to look at a
variety of short-term and long-term policies so that the City was ready to adapt and absorb the state budget
impact. I would make sure Bristol residents knew exactly what proactive measures were being taken to be
transparent and avoid any surprise tax bills/increases. Transparency is key in these difficult times with so much
out of our care and control, communication and community engagement is needed to maximize flexibility as we
await action on a spending plan by the state, she continued.

“I also believe that my management style is much different, and is a very good reason why the voters should
have the opportunity to hear both candidates, side-by-side, discuss how we each would handle the fiscal issues
that are affecting Bristol,” Zoppo-Sassu continued. Across Connecticut, small towns and big cities are bracing
themselves. I have not heard any similar conversations being held at City Hall.”

Zoppo-Sassu also called for a formal review of all department operations. “All programs need to be on the
table,” she said, and the City should assess whether there are any functions being duplicated by departments that
could instead be consolidated or share services. There are many opportunities to leverage resources and create
partnerships and shared services across department lines,” she said. “In fact, there may even be opportunities to
share resources with adjacent cities and towns to improve services while preventing lay-offs.”

Zoppo-Sassu also stated that she believes the City needs to wean itself off state aid and that when the budget
season begins later this year, the budget should be put together with the assumption that Bristol will be
receiving far less state revenue.

“This will make it very difficult the next two or three years,” Zoppo -Sassu said, but said it will be necessary.
“We should be planning for no state aid and separating ourselves from the state’s fiscal problems, while doing
everything possible to avoid layoffs and major disruptions to services.”

“I would like to propose that we do a roundtable discussion sooner rather than later on the budget impacts and
what it means to Bristol taxpayers. As both a candidate and as a taxpayer, parent, and homeowner, I would
welcome the opportunity to offer ideas and spark a conversation about how best to continue to provide high
quality city services during these difficult financial times.”

Paid for by Ellen for Mayor Committee, W. Dale Clift, Treasurer, Approved by Ellen Zoppo-Sassu

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