Stratford mayor vetoes latest budget, extending standoff

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STRATFORD -

Stratford's mayor has once again vetoed the Town Council's approved spending plan, leaving no end in sight for a budgetary stalemate there.

Mayor John Harkins released a statement describing the $217 million budget as poor fiscal decision making that will negatively affect the town.

The budget includes a $500,000 increase in cost sharing for education from the state -- which Harkins says is unrealistic.

He also says the budget reduces services without any tax savings and that the mill rate is insufficient to fund school and town operations.

Tina Manus, a member of the council, says it's the mayor who is mismanaging priorities for the town, tripping up progress in the ongoing standoff.

"We compromised," Manus says. "We even gave him his tax increase to save face. He insists upon doing things in our budget that are reckless, and he insists on blaming everyone but himself."

In order to sidestep a mayoral veto, the council would need to pass a budget with seven votes. The most recent garnered six.

News 12 is told the town is intermittently running on a temporary tax bill based off last year’s budget.

Harkins says he hopes that the council will come up with a new spending plan by Labor Day.

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