Manchester aldermen talk of overriding city tax cap
At Tuesday’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, several aldermen came closer than they ever have to openly advocating for an override, while pressing Mayor Ted Gatsas to take a position on the question.
Gatsas did not respond directly to the question. “There are things people will not do in public life that they will do in the private sector,” he said. “The private sector would work on ways to find solutions, not say here’s the money.”
“In my humble judgment, I think (an override) has a significant role to play in any solution here,” he said. “I had hoped some of the revenue options put on the table ... would have been more favorably received.”
Health care makes up $3.7 million of the budget’s unfunded costs. The concern is compounded by projections that health care costs in the current fiscal year will go over budget by $1.7 million.
In Gile’s view, the projected health care costs for the current budget of around $8 million were too optimistic. Instead, they’ll likely top $11 million this year. The estimate for next year’s health costs, nearly $14 million, is more realistic, Gile said. Unlike last year, it is based on WBS’ calculations, she said.
“It was an election year; $3 million would have busted the cap. It was a smooth move. I don’t want to blame anybody. It’s too late to deal with it now,” he said.
“We should start with department heads: 13 step increases — gone. Then start negotiating on the contracts. Cadillac health plans for everybody — we can’t afford that,” he said.
“All these ghost employees is how we’re balancing our books, it’s bogus,” he said.
Under the city charter, the budget must be finalized by the second Tuesday in June, which this year is the 10th.
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