By TAYLOR HARTZ
Southington officials joined 70 members of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) at a conference on May 10 to discuss the state budget.
The conference preceded a May 12 special session of the Connecticut General Assembly and focused on helping municipalities across the state navigate budget cuts. Town Manager Garry Brumback and Deputy Town Manager Mark Sciota both attended the conference to represent Southington.
At the conference, CCM leaders detailed plans for changes in state legislature that were necessary to help towns reduce spending and manage state cut backs to town and city aid.
More than 70 town and city leaders attended the conference, where CCM President and Mayor of Danbury Mark Boughton, and CCM Vice President, First Selectwoman of Portland Susan Bromfield, gave speeches.
Brumback and Sciota attended to receive updates on the current budget bill, and to advocate for “predictability and stability in funding” across the state, said Brumback.
The Town Manager said that at the May 10 conference in Cromwell, they were focused on concerns about the unfunded mandate process in the state.
Specifically, the Southington officials were concerned with unfunded mandates for cancer presumption for firefighters and potential Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for police officers. The town was able to find a different funding source for the fire department mandate, “keeping that from being an unnecessary burden on tax payers,” said Brumback.
The town manager said they were also working on removing the cap on municipal spending. “We don’t want the state to tell us what our boards of finance and town councils can spend money on,” he said.
Brumback said the CCM has been very successful in “stating the case of our municipalities” in the state and has “unquestionably had an impact” on state level budget negotiations.
The CCM, said Sciota, allows municipalities to work in unison to share concerns and develop procedures for handling the budget. Brumback said it is the only advocacy group for the municipalities and offers town leaders a chance to voice their concerns to state leaders.
“With one voice it’s much more effective going to Hartford,” said Sciota.