Advocacy group details high burdens on Connecticut's poorer cities and towns

The poorest cities in Connecticut, the state with the country's highest per capita income, have incomes that are only half of the state average, an advocacy group said in a report Wednesday calling attention to disproportionate burdens on struggling municipalities.

The report from the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities describes higher poverty rates, education disparities and increased crime rates in the third of municipalities that it describes as the most distressed.

"Connecticut's distressed municipalities face extraordinary additional burdens associated with providing services to some of the neediest populations," said Matthew Galligan, town manager of South Windsor and the conference's president.

The report said distressed cities face public service costs that tend to be higher than other places in Connecticut and have limited capacity to raise revenue to cover those expenses.

The state's top 25 most distressed areas include the biggest cities — Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford — as well as some of the smallest municipalities, including Ansonia and Enfield.

The report, which urges to state to provide increased assistance, notes that many of the same cities are home to major hospitals that care for people across their metropolitan areas and are also centers of employment for people who commute from the suburbs.

Connecticut has an average per capita income of $37,807, but the average per capita income for Hartford residents is only half that amount, the report said.