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CCM Trying to Protect Local Fund Balances In Last Weeks of Session

CCM Trying to Protect Local Fund Balances In Last Weeks of Session

Hartford Courant, Wednesday, April 25, 2018

By Christopher Keating

With slightly more than two weeks left in the legislative session, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is lobbying hard for a new law to preserve emergency funds for cities and towns.

The group wants to protect so-called municipal fund balances, which are essentially rainy-day funds for the local towns, from considered as part of union arbitration settlements.

“Connecticut faces an unprecedented credit-rating crisis, with Moody’s questioning the ratings of 26 additional cities and towns, adding to 25 already with negative outlooks,” said Joseph DeLong, CCM’s executive director. 

Aims to protect back to top

The measure, known as Senate bill 421, “aims to protect the municipalities of Connecticut from passing the effects of these ratings down to the citizens of the state,’’ DeLong said.

If the budget reserve is equal to 15 percent or less of a town’s operating budget, then that money could not considered as part of the arbitration award, according to the bill.

The legislature’s planning and development committee has already passed a bill that would block arbitration panels from considering — and dipping into — the fund balance as they try to determine the municipality’s ability to pay for the union agreement.

Based on the state’s high-profile fiscal problems, numerous municipalities have received negative outlooks or had downgrades in their bond ratings.