City is running out of options on how to pay its bills

Now that Hamtramck voters have rejected funding public safety pensions, and allowing the city council to revamp police and fire services, there is a big question remaining.
How is the city — which is already in deficit spending — going to be able to fund public safety?
Voters, not surprisingly, rejected paying more in property taxes to alleviate the city’s cost to cover pension costs for police and firefighters, and they also rejected allowing the city council to come up with a plan to provide police and fire services at a lesser cost.
Voters apparently want their cake, and eat it too, observed one wag.
Yes, the city council probably made a crucial mistake in not telling voters what an alternative plan would look like, for another way to provide police and fire services.
And that may be one way to revisit this thorny issue.
We would all like for our police and fire departments to continue as is, but there is a problem: The city can’t afford to support both departments just as they are.
Some people refuse to realize this.
So, Hamtramck will continue to spiral toward another financial meltdown that will likely require – for the third time in 20 years – another intervention by the state and the likely appointment of an emergency financial manager.
Maybe, just maybe, the third time will be the charm, as the saying goes. Chances are, residents will not like what that plan will be.
At the very least, in the meantime, the state will have to give the city an emergency loan to keep it limping along for the next several months. But, sooner or later, the city will have to pay its bills.
The fact remains: more money is going out than coming in.
Somewhere, someone will have to come to grips that the status quo is simply not sustainable.
Posted Nov. 13, 2020

3 Responses to City is running out of options on how to pay its bills

  1. Resident

    November 13, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    Sky high property value – property tax revenue should be up. Does the city assess properties fairly? If not, why not? Houses selling for north of 200K, but look at assessed values of these properties. Does one see fair assessment? City could generate so much more revenue just by being fair and reasonable. School district would benefit as well.

    Earned income is up. Most employers in SE Michigan is paying more than the state minimum wage. Income tax revenue should be up.

    Allow more pleasantree shops and collect every penny the city is entitled to.

    Perhaps the city can find a a suiter for Dickerson for a pleasantree farm. Then give @Nasr and the rest of the residents income tax break.


  2. Freddie T.

    November 14, 2020 at 6:44 am

    Maybe it’s time for the city to stop paying for things it really doesn’t need like Max Garbarino’s position, repaving parking lots, lucrative city manager contracts with golden parachutes built in, buying road patch from a place in Florida that’s more expensive than buying from the county, the list goes on. The city should look at what it d spending money on in 2014 after the em made adjustments and try to mimic that. Since then the police department budget has increased a lot, legal has increased, the city managers budget has increased, the list goes on. I’ve been reading this paper for a long time and it’s always “how to find public safety” to save this city. Maybe the city needs to learn some financial discipline and stop hiring all their friends and lining their own pockets.

  3. Dennis Nowak

    November 15, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    The Friday, January 29th, 2016 edition of the Hamtramck Review contains the following prescient observation of former Emergency Manager Cathy Square:

    “Successful cities, Square stressed don’t have battling officials.

    While it can be said that Hamtramck is financially stable, there is serious trouble down the road. Square said that in five years -60 months – there will be a large number of employees retiring.

    That, she said, is going to break the city financially – unless something is worked out beforehand. That’s a task she laid out in her final directives before departing a year ago in December.

    ‘The pension is the bogeyman’, Square said. ‘The road map ahead for the city is to keep the finances stable and solve the pension issue.'”

    Square at that time called the city’s political culture “toxic” and would only plunge the city back into crisis if local control was restored today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *