In place of the standing-room-only budget meetings normally held in the Board of Alders Chamber, New Haven residents filled the city’s Zoom budget meeting to capacity on Monday. While the venue was different, this year’s budget negotiations featured a recurring theme: that Yale fails to meet its moral — and financial — obligations to the Elm City.
Amid the COVID-19 public health crisis, New Haven’s annual budget negotiations labor on. Mayor Justin Elicker said last week that the novel coronavirus outbreak will affect the budget process and outcome in ways yet to be determined, as the pandemic has put additional pressure on a city already in fiscal crisis. At Monday’s public hearing, scores of New Haven residents — some of whom are affiliated with the University — identified another strain on the municipal budget: Yale. Many said that COVID-19 has only exacerbated existing issues in the city, underscoring that today’s problems are symptoms of Yale’s long-standing failure to adequately contribute to New Haven.
“Our communities have always been in crisis,” West Haven resident Briyana Mondesir said. “Right now, we are just in a deeper and more widespread sense of emergency.”