We have stressed this before on this editorial page but some things are worth repeating.
City officials must start discussing the city’s long-term financial picture – particularly how to fund two separate fire and police departments.
At the rate we are going, City Manager Kathy Angerer said funding both departments at their present level is not sustainable.
It has already been floated that the city could go to the voters and ask them to allow Hamtramck to join an existing fire authority between the cities of Eastpointe and Hazel Park.
The only problem with that option is that we would have to convince voters in both of those cities to allow Hamtramck to partner up.
That seems like a huge political challenge – and an outcome that is far from certain. Heck, even asking voters here to pay an additional yearly fee for the fire department is iffy at best.
There are other options. One is being explored now with a new police officers’ contract to begin cross-training with an eye toward establishing a public safety department.
Firefighters are adamant that this model has not worked in other communities.
Another option being discussed is to contract out fire fighting services to Detroit, or create a hybrid department of a core group of full-timers and fleshed out with part-timers.
Maybe there is even another option.
Supporters who demand that the city keep the two departments as they are don’t answer the question of how we would finance that. Instead, what we hear from these folks is to basically just do it.
That is not a constructive answer.
The key is, the city has to begin a discussion on what to do. That’s part of the hard work required of elected officials.
Dec. 14, 2018