09/15/2017 12:00 PM
BALANCED BUDGETS - SURPLUSES - UPGRADED BOND RATINGS - LONG-TERM STABILITY
Hamden's finances have been a sore subject for a long time - and rightfully so. As I said when running in 2015, and as I continue to say now: the bulk of Hamden's financial issues were the result of kicking the can down the line. Pension, Medical, Debt Services - or as I like to call them, 1/3rd of the Town's budget.
My administration is no longer kicking that can - instead, we invested the return deposit. It's time for Hamden to take responsibility for it's spending, and to reduce the burden on our taxpayers while continuing to provide the quality services our residents expect. How can we do this? Well its already happening!
- In 2017, I proposed a budget to the Hamden Legislative Council which reduced our taxes by 1 full mill. The Council passed an amended budget which reduced our mill rate only slightly. While I firmly believe Hamden was capable of cutting taxes even further, this tax decrease is the first that Hamden has seen in nearly a decade. It's small progress, but it is a start.
- Hamden has enjoyed 6 consecutive balanced budgets, which has ultimately improved the financial outlook for the Town as a whole and has often resulted in a small, but significant, year end surplus!
- S&P Global improved Hamden's short-term bond rating to "SP+1",. the highest possible short-term outlook rating. In addition, Hamden's long-term rating was maintained at "A+" with investors noting a stable outlook and pro-active debt repayment structure.
- Ordered an audit of the Town's Medical expenses to identify additional cost savings opportunities.
- Spending Freezes. I have enacted a spending freeze every fiscal year since taking office in an effort to conserve funding where appropriate and effective. Town purchases for emergency operations are never hindered, but maybe we can wait a year or two on a new desk!
Like you, I want Hamden to be financially secure enough to serve as a home for my children. I want our friends and neighbors to keep their jobs, and for new businesses to choose Hamden as a center for growth. Our financial outlook is improving every day, and I am very proud of our accomplishments thus far. My sincere hope is to continue working towards these improvements already underway.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Now, of course, Hamden cannot rebuild on the basis on internal budgeting decisions alone - we need commercial stimulation and fresh investment opportunities to keep our tax base strong and add jobs to our communities. I am extremely proud of the work Hamden has accomplished in the past few years, and I sincerely thank Economic Director Dale Kroop for the significant developments we have seen in just the past 2 years.
Since 2015, we've seen:
- The official launch of the Hamden Business Incubator, with tenants expected to occupy space within the next year. The Incubator will provide a cost-reduced environment for new businesses and startup companies to build and grow during the initial stages of development.
- The welcoming of new, major, national retailers to the Hamden Mart and Hamden Plaza. Hamden recently welcomed the Burlington Coat Factory and Aldi's Supermarket, along with a number of smaller, local businesses and retail chains.
- Partnerships with Albertus Magnus College and Quinnipiac University in support of Town arts programs, internship opportunities, and more - with new partnership ventures in the works with other major educational institutions in the area.
- An increased focus on Green Energy and the many cost-saving advantages of energy monitoring systems, conservation plans, and more across Town buildings.
- The lowest commercial vacancy rate Hamden has seen in years!
The fact of the matter is: Hamden's financial situation is on the rebound. We are saving money, paying our debt, balancing our budgets, and attracting strong investor and business interest. This is a Hamden that is growing in strength each and every year, and I plan to continue strengthening our Town for our commercial investors and taxpaying families alike!