Maturo orders spending freeze

December 16, 2011 by  

East Haven city departments must get approval on expenditures that exceed $25 until further notice. A spending freeze ordered by Mayor Joseph Maturo’s, went into effect on November 30. Maturo says he’s putting the brakes on discretionary spending until city leaders can determine the severity of East Havens financial state. Spending city dollars for items such as excess office supplies, non-essential business card printing and the like is being watched like a hawk to forestall overspending due to the volatility of the city’s finances.

The belt-tightening measure in East Haven is a common occurrence across the U.S. A recent survey of city finance officers released by the National League of Cities(NLC)found that reducing services and raising fees are the order the day as cities prepare for what they fear will be the fifth year in a row of dwindling revenues. The economic downturn has left many cities and towns with no choice but to eliminate city jobs and infrastructure projects.

A drop in property tax revenue gets the bulk of the blame for city budget woes. The nation’s cities could see a nearly 4 percent decline in property tax collections in 2012 and 2013 because of the chronically bleak housing market, according to the NLC.

Finance department records for East Haven show the town has less than $25,000 left to cover legal expenses for the remainder of 2011 since the city already spent nearly $377,000 from its self-insurance fund. The city anticipates a 2.3 percent decrease in general city revenues as 2011 draws to a close. Further declines are expected in 2012.