�Mar­garet Newkirk

30% 64%

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - Politics/ Policy -

home­owner whose hus­band had re­ported stand­ing wa­ter in the swim­ming pool of a va­cant home next door. Vasquez found no A. ae­gypti un­til he looked in Har­ris’s yard, where lar­vae were grow­ing in a clay pot the size of a Dixie cup and in a saucer sit­ting un­der a planter. Cit­ing a mu­nic­i­pal ban on in­sec­ti­cide use, Har­ris stopped Vasquez from spray­ing and called the mayor, Philip Stod­dard, a Florida In­ter­na­tional Univer­sity bi­ol­ogy pro­fes­sor who helped en­act the ban. When the mayor showed up, Vasquez ex­plained the state’s health emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion su­per­sedes city or­di­nances but agreed to check with the county’s at­tor­ney be­fore spray­ing. Says Vasquez: “This could be a big prob­lem.” team is play­ing on a bor­rowed field about 40 miles away.

On May 27, Hart­ford Mayor Luke Bronin an­nounced the city could no longer af­ford to cover the cost of con­struc­tion de­lays at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Hart­ford re­cently cut ser­vices and raided its rainy- day fund to close a $50 million bud­get gap for the 2017 fis­cal year, which begins July 1. Now, Bronin is mak­ing a claim against the in­sur­ance bought by builders Cen­ter­plan Con­struc­tion to guar­an­tee the sta­dium would be com­pleted. “The de­vel­oper is re­spon­si­ble for any costs be­yond what we ap­proved, and there were quite a few,” Bronin says.

The sta­dium, born out of an idea to re­vi­tal­ize Hart­ford’s des­o­late north side, isn’t what caused the city’s bud­get prob­lems. As Con­necti­cut’s cap­i­tal, Hart­ford is home to a large num­ber of pub­lic build­ings; half of all prop­er­ties in the city are tax- ex­empt. To com­pen­sate, the city has raised busi­ness taxes, which are now higher than in any neigh­bor­ing city.

Bronin’s pre­de­ces­sor, Pe­dro Se­garra, in­sisted the sta­dium wouldn’t just pay for it­self but also gen­er­ate rev­enue for the city. He over­saw the cre­ation of the Hart­ford Sta­dium Au­thor­ity, which is­sued $56 million in mu­nic­i­pal bonds in 2015 to fi­nance con­struc­tion. In early Jan­uary, shortly af­ter Bronin took of­fice, Cen­ter­plan re­ported that it would re­quire an ad­di­tional $10.4 million to fin­ish the job in time for open­ing day. Bronin agreed to split those costs with Cen­ter­plan in ex­change for the builder fin­ish­ing the project by May 17, a dead­line it missed.

Bronin, a 36-year- old for­mer Rhodes scholar who grad­u­ated from Yale Col­lege and Yale Law School, ran for mayor on a prom­ise to look “un­der the hood” of the city’s de­te­ri­o­rat­ing fi­nances. What he found wasn’t pretty. “I knew we were fac­ing some se­ri­ous fis­cal chal­lenges, but this was just a lot worse than I had planned on,” says Bronin, who served as a naval re­serve of­fi­cer in Afghanista­n and worked for the U.S. Depart­ment of the Trea­sury be­fore re­turn­ing home to Con­necti­cut, where he was ap­pointed gen­eral coun­sel un­der Demo­cratic Gov­er­nor Dan­nel Mal­loy.

For the 2018 bud­get, Bronin an­tic­i­pates a $34 million short­fall, thanks to pay­ments on debt that are com­ing due. The gap bal­loons to $78 million by 2022. “The sta­dium isn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back here,” says Melissa Mccaw, Hart­ford’s di­rec­tor for man­age­ment, bud­get, and grants. “It’s just some hay that was dumped on a crip­pled, half- dead camel.”

Cen­ter­plan says it wasn’t able to meet its dead­line, in part be­cause of changes the city re­quested, in­clud­ing the in­stal­la­tion of a barn- style door in a lux­ury suite. The com­pany has threat­ened to walk off the job un­til the in­surer, Arch In­sur­ance, com­pletes its eval­u­a­tion of the city’s claim. Cen­ter­plan prin­ci­pal Ja­son Rud­nick es­ti­mates that could take any­where from six to nine months. If Arch sides with the city, the in­surer will cover as much as $47 million to com­plete the ball­park.

Mccaw says that with the sta­dium un­fin­ished and no new rev­enue sources avail­able, the city may need to lean on the state for help: “I re­ally just have no idea how we’re go­ing to close that bud­get gap.” �Kate Smith

In­crease for MSNBC 127% Prime-time rat­ings jump for CNN as of May 30, from a year ago, ac­cord­ing to Nielsen, which at­trib­uted the in­crease to in­ter­est in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion The bot­tom line Mi­ami-dade, which has the most Zika in­fec­tions in the con­ti­nen­tal U.S., al­lots only $1.6 million a year for mos­quito con­trol. In­crease for Fox The bot­tom line Hart­ford, which re­cently strug­gled to close a $50 million bud­get gap, is re­fus­ing to cover cost over­runs at its new ball­park.

Edited by Al­li­son Hoff­man Bloomberg.com

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