Leverage in the City

Hartford residents have a lot of leverage via their municipal government. But what is the best way to describe, and understand, the type of leverage?

Residents of Hartford elect a Mayor and nine members to the Court of Common Council. These ten officials directed about $941 million in spending during FYE 2013. Over that same period, the residents contributed about $72 million in property taxes to the City.

Via their elected representatives, the residents of Hartford directed the spending of about 13x as much money as they contributed. Leverage.

This financial set-up is an opportunity. Hartford is able to work towards goals that would otherwise be financially out of reach.

This financial set-up has risks. Hartford’s ability to pursue those goals depends on the funding, which in turn depends on the financial position and attitude of others.

Most importantly, this financial set-up comes with responsibility.

In order to take advantage of the opportunity that leverage provides, and to minimize the risk that comes along with it, Hartford has the responsibility of creating plan. What is the City trying to accomplish, and what strategies will be used to reach those goals?

That responsibility ultimately falls to the residents, who elect the Mayor and the members of City Council. The residents, via their elected officials, have the power to lead the discussion and shape the conversation.