(May 29, 2015)Today, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra was joined by U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and U.S. Congressman John Larson to announce the six winners of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Hartford Challenge, a contest funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to spur creative economic development strategies that grow business. A grand prize of $500,000 was awarded to Hartford Health Works for plans to create an FDA-approved, ISO-certified medical device prototyping and manufacturing plant in North Hartford and to implement targeted programs to improve access to expertise, capital and markets. Hartford Health Works’ goal is to bring manufacturing back to Hartford and create long-term, well-paying careers for residents.
“I applaud all the teams who participated in this challenge and brought provocative game-changing ideas to the table. It’s not easy to start or grow a business. It’s not easy to bring a new idea to market or disrupt the status quo. We are rewarding your courage, your hard work and your vision, which will help us move Hartford forward,” said Mayor Segarra. “We look forward to working with our winning teams to implement their strategies. We look forward to using the lessons learned from SC2 to enhance Hartford’s reputation as a great city for entrepreneurs.”
Director of Development Services Thomas E. Deller said, “The City of Hartford and the EDA will jointly own not one, but six winning economic development plans that may be implemented both in Hartford and in other cities around the country. It is a unique approach with a big yield, and in line with Development Services’ mission to create a vibrant, livable and sustainable Hartford.”
“Health care is a complex industry. You need specialized expertise and equipment to develop products and services for this industry and we’re going to bring those resources here to Hartford. This is a decade-long project that we’re undertaking, but there are educational programs that we’ll have up and running within a year. We think we will be able to bring a manufacturing company to Hartford and that means real jobs,” said Mark Borton, team leader at Hartford Health Works and a founder of Rising-Tide Health Care. Other partners in the team include Beacon, a medical device trade association, and Movia Robotics.
The remaining winners are:
Phase I of the SC2 Hartford Challenge officially kicked off in February of 2014. It began with a call for multi-disciplinary teams to form and develop proposals for a transformative economic development strategy for the City of Hartford—one that would establish Hartford as the city where entrepreneurs come to start and grow their businesses. Of the 58 teams who participated, 25 submitted qualified proposals. A panel of community leaders reviewed the proposals and the top three teams shared $100,000 of grant funded prize money from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). The top 10 teams were invited to participate in Phase II of the SC2 Hartford Challenge to develop full-blown economic development plans for the City of Hartford, which they submitted on April 20, 2015.
(May 28, 2015) Mayor Pedro E. Segarra, City Council President Shawn T. Wooden and the Hartford City Council today announced that they have agreed to a $533.8 million budget for Fiscal Year 2016 that includes no mill rate increase, no reduction in essential city services and no reduction in education funding. Mayor Segarra and the Council worked collaboratively to close a more than $40 million budget gap and to continue to fund top priorities in public safety, economic development and infrastructure improvements to streets and sidewalks.
“We have worked hard to produce a fiscally prudent budget that doesn’t burden taxpayers and protects community safety, public education, job growth, economic development and quality of life for our residents,” said Mayor Segarra. “This budget reflects what we feel are responsible answers to tough decisions that impact the day-to-day lives of residents, including our most vulnerable residents, while protecting our future.”
Council President Wooden said, “Every year we have a really hard budget to produce and extremely difficult choices to make. The Council has been steadfast in avoiding a mill rate increase while maintaining the quality of services to the community. I’m proud that we’ve achieved these goals while incorporating important Council priorities in this budget.”
The FY2016 budget, which takes effect on July 1, funds several important initiatives, including:
To help balance the budget for FY2016, the City will restructure certain existing debt obligations, use a portion of its health benefits fund balance, and reduce departmental expenses by over $10 million. A portion of the City’s health benefits fund balance will be used to fund $19.3 million of the Board of Education’s Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) future liability. The adoption of a balanced budget is the most significant annual policy action for any level of government.
(May 27, 2015) Mayor Pedro E. Segarra today announced that representatives from the Obama Administration, as well as Connecticut’s federal delegation, state representatives and city officials will announce the winners of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Hartford Challenge during a ceremony on Friday, May 29, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Out of the remaining 10 teams competing in the SC2 Hartford Challenge, six will be selected based on the highest scores for economic development plans for the City of Hartford. The six winning teams will share $800,000 in prize money, with the top plan receiving $500,000.
(May 20, 2015) As part of the Hartford City Council’s response to Mayor Pedro E. Segarra’s recommended budget, Council President Shawn T. Wooden proposed the creation of a citywide youth sports program to be administered jointly by the City and Hartford Public Schools. This program would be managed by a newly-created Athletic Director position. On Wednesday, the City Council unanimously voted to allocate $90,000 for program management and requested that Hartford Public Schools cooperate in creating the program. If implemented, this would be the first comprehensive citywide youth sports program in the capital city.
Additionally, the City Council has requested the formation of a working group, led by Mayor Segarra and the Superintendent of Schools, to develop a plan of implementation and operation for the program by August 5, 2015. The proposal recommends leveraging publicly-owned athletic facilities and nonprofits and community groups providing recreational services.
“I am excited about creating opportunities for our city youth to participate in organized sports programs,” said Council President Wooden. “For too long, the City has not properly utilized or coordinated its physical assets to maximize such opportunities for all city youth. Implementing this proposal will dramatically expand the safe and healthy opportunities for the City to nurture well-rounded students. Study after study show that students who participate in sports do better academically than students not participating. I’d like to thank Hartford native and Classical Magnet High School teacher Brian Gallagher for the considerable work he put in to initiate this proposal. I look forward to the Board of Education’s cooperation in making this a reality.”