The state of Connecticut is now in special session to get a budget for the state and there still is no state budget. It can mean cuts to many towns and cities. I met with Mayor Ganim to see what impact no budget will have on Bridgeport.
Mayor Ganim said the lack of budget will cut over twenty-seven million dollars from Bridgeport’s budget. This is only five percent across the board. “I guess when you say it this way it doesn’t sound like much,” Ganim admitted. However, it will be difficult as police, fire, education, and employees will not be cut. The mayor is concerned about it, and so far the mayor has made some budget and hiring freezes. The city will still try to move forward with increasing police presence throughout the city, not just in the “higher incident areas”, but also moving forward with jobs for teens through the Lighthouse Program. The mayor said the city will do the best they can until the state budget gets into place without compromising services, education, and most importantly, public safety, but it may begin to impact people’s lives if the budget does not pass.
The mayor warned that tens of millions of dollars are slated to be cut from all cities in the state. Possibly thirty to forty million dollars can be in jeopardy for Bridgeport. and he said there is no way this can be made up without affecting services. Non-essential city offices being closed one day a week, possible reductions in work force, and reversing car tax cuts may occur. The state employees union has just ratified a major contract which will save millions of dollars. Ganim said he hopes this is a first major step towards the governor and state legislators coming to terms with a budget “that will serve all of Connecticut and Bridgeport, as we direly need it”.