Mayor Leng Recommends Tax Cut in FY21-22 Budget,
5 New Police Officers & Crisis Response Team
FY21-22 Budget Reflects Core Hamden Community Values
Safety, Sustainability, Sensibility, Steadiness
Hamden – Mayor Curt Balzano Leng delivered his Recommended Budget for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 on March 17th, 2021 and outlined a positive vision for Hamden in the coming year, built upon solid fiscal and operational improvements, some completed and others underway, and legislative achievements recently attained. Mayor Leng’s recommended budget reduces Hamden’s current mill-rate by .50 mills, offering a tax decrease to Hamden residents which will now require approval by the Legislative Council.
Mayor Leng delivered the tax decrease during his address, explaining, “This budget before you is responsible and responsive. It funds our obligations, going so far as to start to pay additional funds toward areas like our Town pension, and it contains conservative revenue estimates and strong funding of our essential services. It provides forward thinking efforts to address glaring needs in prevention and protection. And, it reduces our tax mill rate by just over a half a mill. Residents need to know that we understand how hard they have been hit by our high taxes, especially when so many have been harshly hit one way or another by the pandemic.”
The budget includes the 2nd year ever of 100%+ ARC funding of our Hamden Pension Fund, which reached its highest level in 15 years, and one that is $200,000 more than what is required as an effort to remain ahead of our obligations.
Mayor Leng also reflected on additional successes, “Due to our Town’s Grand List growth, additional State resources thanks to the Governor’s protection of our existing Town revenue and with Senator Looney’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes legislation approved, (supported by Hamden’s strong state delegation), AND with the knowledge that Hamden is finally set to receive an influx of resources thanks to the American Rescue Act; we may realize significant help as we seek to recover decades of underfunded ECS and other non-tax revenue, and give the Town a once in a generation chance to restore, invest and protect.”
Hamden recently completed its State mandated Revaluation of all property and realized a substantial $300 Million dollar increase in the Grand List value in comparison to its position in 2019, by-far the largest increase in recent years. Residential property values experienced an average of approximately 5% growth and condo units realized a growth rate of about 3%. Commercial and business properties, including multi-family housing properties which contain 4 units or more, saw the greatest rate of growth - experiencing a 20% rise in total assessed value. This shift towards commercial value means a lower share of taxation for homeowners.
Leng also made a point to address public safety in Hamden, and to deliver a budget responsive to the daily needs and the protection of residents. Leng addressed the Council, noting, “Our obligations are to the shared community values which unite us all, and this budget builds upon the community policing and expanded social services “for a better society” model we have worked very hard to implement here in Hamden”
Mayor Leng’s budget recommends funding for 5 new Police Officers, and the creation and implementation of Hamden’s first ever Crisis Intervention Team consisting of trained Hamden Officers, equipped with additional resources designed to more appropriately respond to specific emergencies at hand.
Leng said, “To engage with our community, we need not only more Officers interacting with our residents, but the right Officers too. THAT is what community policing is truly about – ensuring our Officers represent our community and are equipped to serve it, with the resources, training and manpower that Hamden demands."
The Mayor continued, “When it comes to mental health, emotional trauma calls and other scenarios, ensuring the correct resources are engaged is crucially important. Our community is growing and adapting, and the needs of our residents are changing. It’s a fast moving and constantly evolving world – now more than ever, and we have to be ahead of the curve. Our residents depend on it.”
Reflecting further, and concluding his remarks to the Hamden Legislative Council, Mayor Leng made it a point to drive home a number of crucial recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year.
Mayor Leng has recommended a return to Hamden’s annual Bulk Trash collection program, which many residents genuinely depend upon. Additionally, the Mayor has proposed opening the Hamden Library for limited Sunday hours as an additional resource for Hamden residents. Leng also indicated his desire to return to a responsible and well-planned Capital bonding-plan, citing the more than 50 miles of roadways paved during the first 2 terms of his administration. Leng cited it was time to “get back to business” and to do it responsibly and safely, noting that Town Offices would begin to reopen to the general public in the coming weeks.
Leng offered his final sentiments to the Legislative Council and the Residents of Hamden, noting, “I hand this to you, but offer my team’s collaborative support and teamwork, throughout the process, which will undoubtedly deliver a stronger budget and stronger Hamden for all.
That’s why we are doing this – to help our neighbors. That’s why I am delivering this budget to you, and why you are painstakingly deliberating upon it. The process isn’t pretty, and it isn’t easy, but it is necessary. Let’s unite for our shared values, and let’s take action, together.
We’ve proved that we can do it and now we need to prove that we have the fortitude to keep it strong for the days, years and for generations to come. This is our stamp on Hamden’s future.”
For further information, please contact the Office of the Mayor at 203-287-7100.