Tag Archives: Budget

Hartford’s Spending by Category

Unlike Hartford’s revenue profile, the City’s spending priorities tend to be in line with other cities and towns in the state.

Data for this analysis comes from the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending in June 2013, which is the most recent audited financials available. Figure IV on page 15 of the CAFR breaks down City expenditures by category.

Focusing first on the $521 million in General Fund expenses, Education received the largest allocation, about 60%, while Public Safety and Benefits & Insurance were the only other two categories that received more than $20 million for the year.

General Fund Expenses by Category

Hartford had a meaningful amount of revenue and expenses outside of the General Fund. Performing the same analysis on the Total Governmental Funds column, which shows $941 million in expenses, changed the distribution of spending.

Total Expenses by Category

Education continued to be the largest allocation, though it fell to about 47.5%. Capital Outlay, which was mostly spending by the Capital Improvement Fund was the second largest allocation at $125 million. Public Safety spending was augmented by spending outside the General Fund, while Benefits & Insurance received no additional contributions.

Hartford’s Funding Sources

The City of Hartford has a revenue structure that is different from most other municipalities.

Like most towns and cities, funding for City activities comes from three primary sources; residents, businesses and other levels of government. Audited financial statements, and assessor data, allow a more detailed look at Hartford’s revenue base. Consider the fiscal year ending in June 2013, the most recent year for which audited financials are available.

Most of the data in this analysis comes from Exhibit IV on page 15 of the 2013 Hartford Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

That year’s General Fund expenses were finalized at about $521 million. The corresponding revenue from Hartford taxpayers was about $256 million. Therefore, Hartford taxpayers funded about 49% of the City’s (General Fund) expenses. Most of the remaining revenue came from the State and Federal governments, accounting for $281 million and nearly 54% of General Fund expenses.

Looking deeper into the numbers, the revenue can be allocated to the different types of tax payers. Revenue from the State and Federal governments come from State and Federal Taxpayers. Revenue from the property tax comes from the residents and businesses within Hartford.

Data from the City Assessor’s office shows that Residential real estate owners made up 21.1% of the net assessments, Commercial real estate owners about 51.8%, Personal Property (business equipment) owners about 18.7% and Motor Vehicle owners about 8.5%. These figures take into account the City’s split assessment ratio.

Grand List 2011 Tax info from Assessor

It seems logical to combine Residential Property owners and Motor Vehicle owners into a group called “Hartford Residents” that was responsible for 29.6% of the property taxes. It also seems logical to combine Commercial Property owners and Personal Property owners into a group called “Hartford Businesses” that was responsible for 70.4% of the property taxes.

During the fiscal year that ended in June 2013, the three taxpayer groups contributed to the City’s General Fund expenses as follows.

2014-07-18 Contributions Towards General Fund Expenses - Chart

Exhibit IV on page 15 of the CAFR also shows that the City received an additional $290 million from the State and Federal governments outside of the General Fund. Repeating the calculation using the “Total Governmental Funds” instead of the “General Fund” changes the contribution percentages of each of the three groups.

2014-07-18 Contributions Towards Total Expenses - Chart

In summary, the majority of Hartford’s revenue comes from State and Federal taxpayers. Hartford Businesses are the second largest funding contributor, followed by Hartford Residents. The breakdown of revenue sources is important to understand when evaluating the persistent budget deficit and working to restructure City government.

Note: The total in the “General Fund” calculation adds up to more than 100% of expenses because the General Fund showed a surplus during the fiscal year. The total in the “Total Governmental Funds” calculation is less than 100% both because there was a deficit and because of other smaller revenue sources.

City Projects Increasing Budget Deficits

The City of Hartford’s General Fund is projected to experience increasing annual budget deficits. The following chart is a reproduction of data on page 4-3 of the Five Year Forecast Section of the Adopted Budget for the fiscal year ending in June of 2015, which is the fiscal year that began last month (July 2014).

General Fund Deficit Projections

The chart shows that the adopted budget balances expenditure and revenue in the current year, Fiscal Year 2014-2015. Other sections of the Adopted Budget go into more detail about how the budget was balanced. The complete document can be found on the City of Hartford website.

The above chart also shows a projected budget deficit for all future years. The gap jumps up to $40 million for the next fiscal year, and to about $45 million in the year after that, before stabilizing at about $55 million in each of the final two years shown.

As a point of reference, Mayor Segarra’s Budget Message letter, which is included as part of the Adopted Budget, noted that the administration and Court of Common Council closed an estimated $44 million deficit in the current fiscal year.