City seeks a millage this year

By Charles Sercombe
How the city survives financially now depends on voters.
Acting on a suggestion by the city administration, the city council last week agreed to ask for voter-approval of a millage to cover the cost of the police and fire pensions.
The city currently collects a half mill for the cost, but that raises only a little over $103,000 a year.
The city’s actual cost is over $2.2 million a year, which comes out of the city’s general budget.
To cover the actual cost, the city wants to levy up to 10.5 mills, which could be adjusted down if pension costs decrease, or if another revenue stream is found.
The city is aiming to get wording for the ballot proposal approved and ready to be on the August Primary Election.
For the average homeowner, the millage increase would cost an extra $300 to $400 a year in property taxes. The new millage would expire in 20 years.
As it stands now, the city is projecting about a $2 million budget deficit for the new fiscal year, which starts on July 1. That’s because revenue collection has dried up since most businesses were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
People in Michigan have also been ordered by the governor to self-quarantine at home unless they were involved in essential work, or had to perform essential chores.
That projected deficit is on top of the $1.8 million budget deficit the city is running in the current budget year.
The city had a $5 million budget surplus a couple of years ago to dip into, but that will be wiped clean in another year if finances don’t take an uptick.
That appears unlikely. The state is also losing billions of dollars in revenue, which will likely lead to a 25 percent cut in state revenue sharing, the funds the state shares with communities.
The police and fire millage will likely face an uphill battle as many homeowners are also hit hard financially.
Some may even be looking at foreclosure in the coming year.
Not all city councilmembers were on board with the millage. Councilmember Mohammad Hassan, who is running for county commissioner this year, said the police and fire pension plan is “luxurious.”
“Hamtramck has already given enough,” Hassan said about their pensions.
Councilmember Ian Perrotta said the millage at least allows the city to “put out all on the options.”
City Manager Kathy Angerer said she cut as deeply as she could into the city’s budget, without having to seek changes to union employee contracts.
She has taken a 10-percent pay cut herself and ordered a 5-percent pay cut to department heads.
Another proposal is to end the city’s $134 a month contribution to all retirees for their health plans.
Posted May 29, 2020

16 Responses to City seeks a millage this year

  1. Nasr Hussain

    June 5, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    Spending per student in Hamtramck vs. Dearborn and Warren (Both cities residents move to for a better education)

    In Hamtramck: 13,720.87
    In Dearborn: 13,697.83
    In Warren: 13,181.90


    The issue here is not a money issue.We can keep pouring money into the school system, but the results will remain the same.

    The issue is the same issue causing the ongoing protests in this country. You can pour as much money as you want into the buildings and upgrades, but the main cause will not be addressed.

    School board should pull this failing proposal from the ballot and work together with the community to draw up a working plan that will address the underlying problems and help solve Hamtramck’s education problems once and forever.

  2. Nasr Hussain

    June 5, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    Hanley Internataionl Academy spending per student:

    Hamtramck Academy:

    Two of the highest achieving schools in the city, which is more in line with the state’s per student spending of: 10,048.72

    Take into consideration that Hanley built a brand new school with these funds without the need to burden the residents with a 30 yrs millage.

  3. Nasr Hussain

    June 5, 2020 at 11:56 pm

    In case you’re wondering, comments are placed here because it seems that the newspaper making it harder to discuss this issue and probably doesn’t want to lose the ad revenue stream from the school district.

  4. csercombe

    June 6, 2020 at 8:51 am

    how is the paper making it “harder to discuss this issue”? Nasr, your comments have been published. We do review comments before publishing them because are spam, or defamatory or personal attacks. We monitor the comments several times a day, so there is a delay in posting them.

  5. Nasr Hussain

    June 6, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    It seems that your newspaper’s relationship with the school district is “too cozy” to publish news about any critical information or publish research regarding this millage.
    Like this website:
    discussed widely on Facebook.

  6. csercombe

    June 6, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    still don’t know how the paper is making harder for anyone to discuss the issue, which you are doing right now!

  7. Nasr Hussain

    June 6, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    By not posting any article regarding this important issue on your homepage to allow people to comment on it.

  8. csercombe

    June 7, 2020 at 9:01 am

    this is not true. we have published several stories on this issue, which some of them you have commented!!

    here is just one:

    just do a search on our home page with this phrase: school bond

  9. Poor Hamtramckian

    June 7, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    How much does a full page ad cost on the review? @Nasr Maybe start collecting some funds to post that ad (assuming that the review isn’t biased and one sided) for the next 4 weeks.

    This way people know what they are getting into. Just saw how much this would effect my businesses and I can say for sure I ain’t voting for this atrocity.

    The solution to poorly manages financials when it comes to liberal cities is always raise the taxes, instead of fixing their problems.

  10. Resident

    June 9, 2020 at 11:52 pm

    What is the headcount this school year? How many non-residents are enrolled in the district? What is the existing capacity?

    HPS – show us the numbers!!!


  11. Resident

    June 11, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    How many people from Bengali and Yemeny community read the review? Not many – this resident assumes. What review posts or does is no biggie.

    Bigger question is for you @Nasr – are you going to inform your friends and neighbors about this millage and ask them to vote against it?


  12. Nasr Hussain

    June 11, 2020 at 11:42 pm

  13. Resident

    June 12, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    If Mr. Niczay stayed on for couple of more years, he probably could have added more to the surplus and then finally build a school without raising any taxes. Great man. Left too soon (not counting years of service).

  14. Nasr Hussain

    June 13, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Current budget shows more than 11 million surplus.

  15. Resident

    June 14, 2020 at 1:12 am

    @Nasr – 11 million dollars are a lot of money. More than enough to build a school. L. Brooks Patterson wanted to build a COBO center in the suburb for $12 million…Why can’t Hamtramck build a school for less than $10 million?

    Is there a real need for a new school? Definitely NOT. People elected trusties who do things as they see fit (or don’t give a damn about taxpayers).

    There were almost 4,000 students in HPS during 2002-2003 school year. There was no school choice program (I assume) back then. There was no Tau Beta School back then.

    Now there are about 3500 students including non-residents who attend Hamtramck schools under school choice program. School district added a new school, called Tau Beta. Definitely there is no need for a new school.

    But @Nasr – the trusties from recent immigrant communities (does anyone know them? is anyone friend with them?) want to tax the homeowners, most of whom are recent immigrants, for 30 years. What a shame!!!

    A recent immigrant

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