Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez last week called for belt-tightening and spending reductions to help the city offset lower than anticipated revenues.

A softening economy and less state and federal funding have prompted the mayor to consider hiring freezes and travel restrictions, as well as reducing vehicle use and conserving energy.

“Today, I have sent a letter to the Hartford City Council updating them on our financial situation and outlining the serious choices before us, which may include layoffs and reductions in city services. I look forward to working with them in a responsible and prudent fashion to reduce spending while maintaining our core city services,” Perez said in a press release.

The city faces an $8 million shortfall in the current $547 million fiscal 2009 budget, which began July 1. In addition, it used $6 million of reserve funds to help balance the fiscal 2008 budget, reducing that rainy-day fund to roughly $28 million, according to Sarah Barr, director of communications for the city.

Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s rate both Hartford A. Moody’s Investors Service assigns its A2 rating to the credit. The city has roughly $327 million of outstanding debt.

Hartford, located in central Connecticut, has a population of 124,563, according to U.S. Census data.

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