money

Pay to Play

It used to be highly controversial to ask families to pay for their children to participate in public school sports, but the visceral anger has more or less dwindled as practicality has won out. In the same way, some of the “freebies” in Hartford that have become traditions — parades, summer movie nights, ice skating — have been revealed as costing more than is fair to pass along to the taxpayer in a time when important services have been slashed.

The reactions have varied. Some did little more than create a hashtag. Others have taken more vocal and fruitful actions.

In April, Real Hartford suggested that events like Envisionfest and Winterfest charge a modest admission fee for out-of-town users. No word on if anyone will take up that suggestion, but it stands. Meanwhile, those hoping to hang on to Winterfest activities, like ice skating in Bushnell Park, have started a crowdfunding campaign. As of publication, it has collected $200 toward its $200,000 goal.

Bronin Releases Recommended Budget

The mayor’s 300+ page proposed budget can be reduced to one sentence: The party is over.

For years, certain parades and festivals had been held despite their organizers failing to pay for associated costs in full. This is one of Hartford’s open secrets. Even when the events may not have been well-executed or marketed, the City of Hartford continued to pick up the tab. Cultural events like festivals and parades could draw money into Hartford, but a single glance at the food trucks present for many of these events shows this not to be the case. How, then, can the strain on the HPD traffic division and on the DPW (for funsies, visit Bushnell Park at end of day following one of the major festivals before the crews come out in force to remove litter, empty the trash, and hose everything down) be justified if negligible revenue is created? Should Mayor Bronin’s proposed budget be adopted, we could still have parades for days, if we pay for them without help from the City. (more…)

Suggestion Box: Patching the Budget Hole

How we got here

The City of Hartford’s economic problems did not just happen. They did not spring up when Mayor Bronin was sworn into office. They did not emerge last year or even the year before that. (more…)

Bronin Shoots Straight in State of the City Address

“We will help build a city that fosters innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship, because that’s what drives real, long-term growth — not expensive buildings or baseball stadiums,” Mayor Luke Bronin said in his first State of the City address on Monday in City Hall.

Even with the predictably depressing remarks, residents walked out of City Hall with respect for the no bullshit, factual assessment of where Hartford is, how we got here, and what we are going to do about it. (more…)

Community Bicycle Shop Coming to Park Street

After a few months of riding a bicycle from Connecticut to Indiana, and back, it is only natural for one to launch a membership and fundraiser campaign for a community bicycle shop days after returning home.

Natural, that is, if you’re Tony Cherolis, who has been instrumental in getting BiCi Co., located at the Center for Latino Progress, up and moving.

BiCi Co. may not be the easiest concept to understand. but if you know what a maker space is, then it’s like that, but with bicycles and the ability to buy them.

Bike education classes were provided for youth there over this past summer, as a first step and as part of a summer youth employment service learning project. Thirty teens were paid for learning some safety and repair basics; they went on to fix up bikes for CRT’s Generations program. (more…)

Family and Zoning in the R-8

It appears that Mayor Segarra may have something in common with the residents of 68 Scarborough.

Pedro Segarra and his spouse, Charlie Ortiz, live in a home on Prospect Avenue within the R-8 zone. This is the same zone where it is not permitted for more than two unrelated individuals to live together. In terms of regulations, this is the strictest zone in Hartford.

While the family at 68 Scarborough has been fighting its legal battle publicly, garnering international attention, Mayor Segarra has been quiet on the matter, saying little as the Scarborough Street family has been sued by the City of Hartford. (more…)

Conversations with the Candidates: Impressions

“Why isn’t the mayor here?”

That was the first question asked by an audience member, before the official time for questions began — before anything really began — at the Business for Downtown Hartford’s “Candid Conversations” event. (more…)

Segarra’s Budget: “We’ve Accomplished A Lot Together”

Mayor Segarra has released his recommended budget, saying “this  Budget  is  fiscally  prudent and  accountable  to  all  municipal  stakeholders,” but there have been some questions as to how accountability is being defined.

Richard Wareing, Hartford Board of Education Chair, let known his displeasure with what he says are now confirmed rumors about Segarra’s “intent to use over $12m of the Board’s money to balance the City’s budget for FY 2015-16” and an “approximately $3.5m in Board money to balance the FY 2014-15 budget.”

On this matter, Wareing says he was left in the dark, learning only through “informal sources within City Hall” that OPEB would be poached.

Wareing, in an email to Mayor Segarra, wrote: “I should have the courtesy of a call from you.  If you have time for cocktails with Brad Davis and well-heeled contributors, you have time to call me to discuss matters which significantly impact the education of our children.” (more…)

Most Best Awesome Superlatives of 2014

There are people who hate year-end lists because it sounds like the creator is putting out some clickbait while spending his days going to Christmas parties.

We’re using this opportunity to review the operation of the city and the City– what helped to build up Hartford and who needs to have a time out to think about what he has done. (more…)

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