After months of haggling over a budget deficit elimination plan, city officials – with the exception of Councilmember Abdul Algazali – came to an agreement. This will allow the city to move forward on applying for a $3 million state loan.
The loan will keep the city afloat financially for about another year-and-a-half. In fact, by next June or so the city will have a small surplus in the budget.
But city officials will still have their work cut out. As it stands now, the city is spending more money than it takes in.
Something has to go, and by all accounts it appears public safety will be the focus on finding savings because that’s the largest expense for the city. City officials have already been talking about re-organizing the Fire Department.
That could be in the form of combining the fire and police departments into one public safety department, or it could be the fire department will be staffed mostly with part-timers.
No matter what, change is bound to come within the next two years.
Residents will also be chipping in more through various fee increases, such as the one for garbage collection.
Homeowners are currently paying $3.25 a quarter but will soon pay $20 a quarter. Believe it or not, homeowners have not been paying what it costs the city to provide garbage collection. The increase will take care of that.
(Editor’s note: In the printed version of this editorial, it was incorrectly said that the water rate is monthly.)
The task ahead for city officials will not be an easy one. One thing that needs to be kept in mind is that everyone is going to have to sacrifice in order to keep Hamtramck running.
One way we feel strongly about on how to keep the city financially sound is for city officials to seriously consider looking into asking voters to approve a public safety tax millage.
If Hamtramck wants to remain a safe and viable community, residents need to know they will have to step up and pay a few extra dollars a year.
Considering that property taxes have actually come down in recent years because of falling housing values, it’s only right that the city ask voters to pay their fair share.
Otherwise, Hamtramck will once again fall into a budget deficit.