City councilmembers received an earful this week about the city’s dire financial picture.
It’s a subject that’s been brought up before, but not quite at length like in Tuesday’s budget work session.
The point is, the city is quickly running out of money. Not only have expenses, such as the city’s pension obligation, continued to rise, there has also been a huge impact from COVID.
Because so many people have lost their jobs, or have had reduced work hours, the city’s income tax collection has been significantly down.
And, in an effort to minimize contact with people, police officers and city code enforcers have also backed off from issuing tickets, which means less revenue collected from that source, as well.
We’re not sold on the idea that issuing tickets is something cities should count on as a revenue source, but it is a major revenue source for Hamtramck.
There is one way out of this: pass the financial obligation of pension costs onto property owners, via a voter-approved millage increase.
Previously, the city tried to get voters to OK increasing the pension millage from a half mill to up to 10.5 mills. Predictably, voters resoundingly rejected this proposal.
But that doesn’t make the financial obligation go away. Instead, it increases the likelihood that the city will miss a pension payment, which will then trigger a lawsuit.
And that will result in a judge ordering a millage increase to pay for the pension.
It’s something that just happened in Melvindale. In that case, a judge ordered 10 mills on that city’s property tax roll.
Think about it, Hamtramck.
Posted March 5, 2021