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