Last week we reported that despite getting a clean bill of fiscal health from the state, Hamtramck still has financial challenges ahead.
Several weeks ago the state ended its oversight of the city, saying Hamtramck is in fine shape – financially speaking.
But recently Mayor Karen Majewski gave an interview to WDET-FM saying the city will be forced to dip into its $6 million budget surplus to balance the budget this coming fiscal year, which starts July 1.
Indeed, there are a few high-profile expenses coming up that the state, despite its oversight and expertise, did not address while a state-appointed emergency manager was here three years ago.
Coming up real fast is the possibility that a federal grant that pays for the salaries of our firefighters is due to run out early next year. That grant reimburses the city $1.5 million a year.
On top of that, the city’s costs for pensions and health benefits continue to rise. It was predicted a few years ago that in five years the city won’t be able to meet its pension obligation.
The state, through the emergency manager, did not address that coming budget deficit, or map out a plan to permanently finance the fire department.
There is one small comfort – if you can call it that – and that’s the fact that many communities in the state also face the same challenge on meeting their pension obligations.
Fortunately, we have confidence that our current city administration can work its way through this mess.