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New Haven Mayor Releases City Goals, Says Finances Are In 'Crisis'

Lori Mack
Connecticut Public Radio
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker at a City Hall news conference where he released his transition team's report.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker released histransition team’s report Tuesday outlining the city’s goals.

The report includes 10 areas of concentration ranging from education, public safety and climate change to housing, immigration and arts and culture. 

The document also projects a budget deficit as high as $50 million in fiscal year 2020-21 and highlights the need for new revenue sources.

One of the recommendations is to secure larger annual payments from Yale University to close the revenue gap left by the $6.6 billion worth of untaxed university properties. Elicker told reporters at City Hall that he’s consistently said that Yale should increase its annual voluntary payment from $11.5 million to $50 million.

“I will be having very lively conversations with the university, because I think that the vast majority of New Haven residents feel like Yale can be doing much more to contribute to the city,” Elicker said. “Yale does a lot for the city, but Yale can be doing much more.”

Elicker said “it’s simply not Yale gives a check to the city for $50 million.” He said there are many ways that Yale can help the city. One example is “Yale helping us get more PILOT [payments in lieu of taxes] funding. The university, in addition to increasing its voluntary payment, can help collaborate with the city to get to $50 million in many different ways.”

Elicker said he feels that most of the suggestions in the report can be implemented, but he admits that some components will be challenging in the short term because of the city’s financial situation, which he called a crisis.

The 52-page document also offers an action plan with immediate, short-term and long-term goals and stresses the need for transparency.

State Rep. Robyn Porter, one of the co-chairs of the transition team, said the team stands ready to hold the mayor’s “feet to the fire to make sure that what the city is asking to be done gets done.”

Co-chair Sarah Miller said they made it their mission to seek the views of as many city residents as possible, and they based their recommendations on the feedback.

The team held two open public meetings, conducted a survey and collected emailed suggestions.

Lori Connecticut Public's Morning Edition host.

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