City Hall … 2/24/23


What is our City Council up to these days? We have the highlights of the latest council meeting.

By Charles Sercombe
The city council met on Feb. 14, and all councilmembers, except for Councilmembers Khalil Refai and Muhith Mahmood, were in attendance.
Annual reports for the year 2022 were presented by the Arts and Cultural Commission, and the Code Enforcement and Public Services Departments.

The Arts and Cultural Commission highlighted a number of activities, including:
• Supported and collaborated with “Mighty Real/Queer Detroit, in partnership with the City of Detroit Office of Arts, Culture, and Entrepreneurship (aka Detroit Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship), (who) will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Detroit Pride with the Nation’s Largest Exhibition of Works by LGBTQ+ Artists. …”
• Coordinated a Juneteenth Picnic at Sarah Garrett Park on Sunday, June 19
• Participated with the Detroit Institute of Arts in its “Inside/Out” program, which installed nine outdoor reproductions of artworks throughout Hamtramck
• Sponsored the annual Neighborhood Arts Festival
• Sponsored the “Our City” series

Richard Radtke of the Code Enforcement Department reported that their inspectors issued 3,571 notifications of violations and 2,507 tickets.
The tickets were for such violations as:
• 1,149 for trash and litter
• 442 for weeds
• 5 for hanging laundry on porches
• 383 for overgrown grass
• 2 for graffiti
• 103 for having indoor furniture on porches
• 75 for yard waste

Highlights from the Public Services Department included:
• Alley Reconstruction for the following 9 sites:
o Jos. Campau eastside (Yemans to Belmont)
o Conant westside (Holbrook to Comstock)
o Holbrook northside (McDougall to Charest)
o Holbrook northside (Jos. Campau to Lathem)
o Conant eastside (Evaline the Yemans)
o Lumpkin eastside (Hewitt to Wyandotte)
o Lumpkin eastside (Wyandotte to Geimer)
o Jos. Campau westside (Caniff to Holmes)
o Caniff northside (Jos. Campau to Mackay)
o Building maintenance improvements
o A window replacement review at City Hall
o Exit Door replaced in Police Department

Highlights of Major and Local Roads Budget:
• Road Resurfacing
o Hamtramck Drive (Jos. Campau to Conant)
• Bicycle Path striping
o Jos. Campau (Holbrook to Hamtramck Drive)
• Sidewalk Program
o None were completed in 2022, no bids were received. Sending out bids to continue the program in the spring of 2023.

Highlights of Water and Sewer Budget:
• Lead Water Service Line Replacements – 356 Completed
o Yemans
o Oliver
o Caniff
o Evaline
o Klinger
o Edwin
o Lumpkin
o Fleming
• Water Main Replacement
o Caniff (Conant to Buffalo)
• Fire Hydrant replacements
• Sewer Infrastructure Improvements Phase 1B.
o Sewer replacement on Goodson, Lumpkin to Jos. Campau (Design phase)
• Utility Truck – upgrading fleet due to continual maintenance

During public comment, Muhammad Baqir Muhyedeen, who had been a candidate for the city manager position, sent an email to the city, saying that questions he was asked in the interview for the position were geared toward another candidate for the job. He did not name that candidate.
Muhyedeen called for a second round of interviews, but this time held in public for the sake of “credibility.”
A person spoke in favor of a council proposal to restrict who can park in handicapped parking spaces in residential areas.
The proposal would allow only the person who lives at the address associated with the sign to park in that spot.
Later in the meeting, the resolution, which was proposed by Amanda Jaczkowski, was approved by the council.

The reason she proposed this was to “Ensure that seniors and disabled residents with valid Michigan Disability Parking Placards or License Plates can be confident in returning to their homes that they will have the safe and reliable access that they deserve. …”
The issue of allowing animal sacrifices for religious purposes was brought up by a man who said that animals can feel pain.
He said sheep and goats are “aware of the world.”
He questioned the reason for performing this sacrifice.
“Does a god in the clouds want that?” he said.
Mayor Amer Ghalib defended the practice, saying it’s done just one day out of the year, apparently referring to the Muslim observance of Eid.
(Editor’s note: the city’s ordinance allowing the practice does not mention which religion observes this. The ordinance allows anyone of any faith to sacrifice animals, and it does not restrict how many times, or where, it can be performed during the year.)
Ghalib further defended the practice, saying that the animal industry kills millions of animals for human consumption.
Deputy City Manager Maali Luqman explained the hiring and interview steps that the city took in recommending the appointment of a new city manager.
City Attorney Odey Meroueh also weighed in on the matter. He said that Interim City Manager Max Garbarino stood out as the best candidate.
“Max just is the best in every category,” Meroueh said. “He also loves Hamtramck. … It shines through.”
The council and mayor voted unanimously to hire Garbarino as city manager, and instructed the city attorney to negotiate a contract with him.

The council approved having the city apply for a Department of Transportation grant to reconstruct the city’s alleys. The grant would be worth $5 million.
A note to the council, from the administration, said:
“Currently, many residential alleys are unusable to residents because of potholes, uneven grading, and pooling water. As a result, residents choose to park on-street rather than in their alley-accessible garages.
“This situation leads to congestion on residential streets that reduces resident quality of life and makes alternative transportation modes like biking and walking less safe.
“At the same time, alleyways represent a large amount of surface area in the city where storm runoff collects and is diverted into the city’s sewer system. Nearly annually this system backs up during heavy rains and floods residents’ and businesses’ basements.”

In another matter, the council approved a proposal to rezone several properties on Caniff that were restricted as residential dwellings only. However, the properties involved are clearly businesses. The new rezoning designation would allow multi use of the properties.

The council approved three changes in the city charter to be considered by voters.
One change would allow any councilmember, or the mayor, to potentially be appointed city manager without having to wait two years after they leave office to qualify for the position.
The second change increases the yearly pay councilmembers and the mayor receive.
The third change would not require councilmembers to resign from council to run for mayor, nor would it require the mayor to resign from office in order to run for council.
Posted March 3, 2023

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