At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, a majority of councilmembers decided to commit financial suicide.
Councilmembers Tom Jankowski, Cathie Gordon, Kazi Miah and Mohammed Hassan refused to step up and make the hard decision to raise property taxes to the maximum level they can without voter approval.
Without that measly 2.3 mill increase, Hamtramck will race full speed to a financial meltdown by this time next year.
The four, instead, decided to protect themselves from a perceived voter backlash for being in favor of raising taxes.
That tax increase would have cost the average homeowner an additional $65 a year, which would keep basic city
services in place and spare the need to almost immediately deplete the city’s rainy day fund. Instead, the four councilmembers recklessly voted against doing the right thing in order to remain politically popular.
As a result of their inaction, 11 city employees will be laid off, including two vacant positions in the Police Department will go unfilled as well as one position in the Fire Department. Despite these cuts, the city will still end the year in a deficit and will require the city to dip into its rainy day fund to the tune of $575,000.
The fund has $2 million in it now, but within two years it will be wiped out. We’re not entirely sure what these four councilmembers think will happen between now and then to turn around our financial fortunes.
Some might be relying on successful negotiations with the city of Detroit over a dispute we have regarding a revenue sharing plan from the GM Poletown plant. Detroit is saying part of the agreement we have has expired. That means Hamtramck will lose $2 million a year in revenue.
As for the chances Hamtramck officials will convince Detroit to reverse its position, we wouldn’t count on it.
If the 2.3 mills were OK’d, the city could collect about $500,000 a year. It’s not a cure for the city’s financial problem, but it would stave off draining the rainy day fund so quickly.
Thanks to Miah, Gordon, Hassan and Jankowski, Hamtramck is going to go broke very quickly. And then what? That’s when the city would once again come under the control of a state-appointed financial manager.
Our guess is that the manager will have no other option but to start merging our city services with Detroit or Wayne County. Heck, maybe the state would even wipe Hamtramck off the map and merge us totally into Detroit.
Do you think those bureaucrats in Lansing have any special sentiment about preserving Hamtramck as an independent city? Not a chance.
Well, at least Councilmembers Gordon, Hassan, Jankowski and Miah can brag to the voters how they stood firm against tax increases.
May 30, 2010 at 8:29 pm
The solution is not in raising taxes but in stopping wasted spending.
festivals, event coordiantors……More then 100K
Overpriced City Attorney….???
Ads in Hamtramck Citizen Yellow Pages: $3500
College Tuition payments to cops and firefighers…???
Department of Public Works Overspending….> 500
City Hall Park landscaping…./????
Historical Meuseum…10K up till now
May 31, 2010 at 11:48 pm
Paru said it all.
“The four, instead, decided to protect themselves from a perceived voter backlash for being in favor of raising taxes.” – Well, this time the council has taken the side of the citizens instead of siding with the solidarity majority. Review should get it’s sense back and ask for senseless spending by the Scott Klein gangs. This is the most fit council for over a decade.
June 10, 2010 at 5:57 pm
Paru has the right formula if we want to be part of Detroit. A city needs it’s own identity. Festivals, Museums, Parks, respectable looking public buildings, and a functioning public service department are all requirements for a progressive desirable place to live. If you want to live in a place without services, access and cleanliness, move to a crappy neighborhood in Detroit, you’ll get all you can handle. The “Witchhunt” he’s crying about was required by law, after an elected official was dumb enough to go on TV and say “I live in Sterling Heights.” I’ll go along with you on the benefits to public safety workers, but that will have to be negotiated by law. The next step for you will be to come up with some productive solutions, it’s really easy to sit back and say “NO.”