By Charles Sercombe
There’s been a lot of talk lately of merging Michigan communities and/or their services as a way to save money.
At least Gov. Rick Snyder is urging communities to look at those options, and he plans to reward communities that heed his call with more state revenue sharing.
That’s a fancy way of saying money.
Here in Hamtramck, you won’t hear too much talk in favor of the proposal.
What? Merge with Highland Park, a city that is so far down the drain it would only pull Hamtramck down with it?
That city is hardly doing much better.
But that doesn’t mean officials from outside the city don’t have their own designs on Hamtramck.
Detroit City Councilmember Ken Cockrel Jr. was quoted recently in the online site Huffington Post (thanks for the tip Inside Hamtramck) saying not only would he be willing to absorb Hamtramck and Highland Park, he’d ratchet it up by also merging in Ecorse and River Rouge.
It’s no coincidence his comment comes after the devastating blow Detroit received from its 2010 Census count.
Over the last 10 years, Detroit lost 230,000 people in the latest population count, which translates into the loss of millions of dollars in federal projects.
In 1950, Detroit was the fourth largest city in the nation with a population of 2 million people. It is now the 18th largest city with 710,000 residents.
Cockrel had this to say about his merger plan:
“It would automatically solve the population issue.”
It may indeed “solve” that problem, but his comment didn’t exactly make friends here.
“I think it’s very curious he spoke about this publicly without talking first with Hamtramck,” said Mayor Karen Majewski.
In other words, Majewski said she wonders what the heck else Detroit officials are conjuring up for Hamtramck.
“It’s disturbing,” she said.
City Councilmember Tom Jankowski at first didn’t want to comment, but then unloaded: “How does that help us? They’re worse off than us.”
Cockrel, by the way, is no stranger to Hamtramck. He graduated from the former St. Florian High School in the 1980s.