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 March 28, and all councilmembers, except Khalil Refai and Mohammed Hassan, were present.
During public comment, Councilmember Refai submitted an email regarding several agenda items.
He said he was in favor of a proposed contract with the Michigan Humane Society to continue taking in animals that the police department handles.
Refai thanked a resident on Jacob St. for purchasing a city lot next to his house, where the buyer plans to construct an addition to his house.
And he supported accepting a grant to install restrooms in Veterans Park.
Nasr Hussain took issue with Councilmember Refai’s ongoing absence from council meetings. He said that Refai has to decide to either attend the meetings, or else step down.
(Refai has been absent from meetings for about three months.)
His absence, Hussain said, “doesn’t look good for the city.”
In another matter, Hussain insisted that the city is losing money on the new parking meter system.
City Manager Max Garbarino said that this is not true, and that the city’s revenue from the meters can be found added into the district court’s revenue stream of fines and fees.
Lynn Blasey defended the city’s new bike lane, saying she has seen people biking on it. She also noted, though, that people are still parking in the bike lane even though it’s not permitted.
Bill Meyer commended the council for its “civil discourse,” as opposed to council interactions prior to this council and mayor.
He welcomed Councilmember Abu Musa, who was appointed to fill a vacant council seat.
“I hope you talk more than the last time you were on council,” Meyer added.
Meyer then switched gears and noted that his organization OneHamtramck is being re-activated. One project the non-profit will focus on is continuing its plan to convert a parking lot at Jos. Campau and Goodson into a park.
As for the new bike lane, which is part of the Joe Louis Greenway project, Meyer said it was “such a mistake” because it took away street parking.
He urged the city to reroute the portion that runs on Jos. Campau south of Holbrook.
Meyer said the bike lane, combined with the Campau street bumpouts and the new parking meters, have meant the loss of many parking spaces.
“What the heck, are we … going to wipe out all the parking spaces, and let people park in Highland Park,” Meyer said. “Parking is primary, not bicycles.”
Police Chief Anne Moise spoke briefly on a contract renewal with the Michigan Humane Society to take in animals that officers find in the streets, or that are dropped off at the station.
But there was one major change in the contract, Moise said.
“… The Michigan Humane Society will no longer accept emergency care cases, requiring municipalities to seek alternative emergency care services from an after-hours emergency clinic.
“At this time, arrangements are in the works to use Veterinary Emergency Services in Madison Heights for any emergency care that might be needed. This is a pay by visit service, no contract required,” Moise said, in an agenda note to the council.
The council approved the contract. The cost of the service is $7,200.
In another matter, the council OK’d the sale of a city lot, located at 3269 Jacob, to a resident who lives next-door to the lot.
The resident, Jamal Ezzi Jawany, plans to build an addition to his house, including a sunroom.
Mayor Amer Ghalib cautioned residents that when you make additions and improvements to your house, your property taxes will increase.
“That’s the rule,” Ghalib said.
He added that residents should research tax issues before considering a significant home improvement.
The council agreed to accept a grant worth almost $650,000 that will be used to renovate restrooms in Veterans Park.
In a related action, the council agreed to support a grant application for several more improvements to Veterans Park.
Konrad Maziarz, who chairs the Hamtramck Park Conservancy, said there are plans to install a workout station, children’s playscape and a scoreboard at the Hamtramck Stadium.
In his report to the council, Mayor Ghalib said he recently met with Wayne County officials to discuss the future of the county jail in Hamtramck.
The county has built a new jail, and it appears the Hamtramck jail will be shut down.
Ghalib said the county “didn’t have an answer” on what the county planned to do with the building.
If nothing is done with the jail, the city will lose about $1 million a year in revenue that came previously from the county.
Ghalib also said there will be a slight change in the city’s yearly suspension of charging parking meter fees. Instead of having a full month of free parking during the Christmas season, this will be reduced to two weeks, but the city will then add two weeks of free parking during Ramadan.
These changes are dependent on the parking meter company agreeing to them since the city currently has a contract with the company.
Posted April 7, 2023