But not all tax increases are equal. Take the case of Hamtramck where the City Council has the option of raising property taxes 2.3 mills, up to the city’s legal limit. Once Hamtramck maxes out its tax rate, it’s up to voters to then decide whether to continue raising taxes.
Raising local taxes 2.3 mills may not sound like a big number – and to property owners it would be less than $50 extra a year – but it would bring in an additional $500,000 a year. Considering the city is facing a $900,000 deficit, that tax increase would go a long way to fixing our budget.
But there are certain councilmembers who are, so far, dead set against any tax increase. Instead, they would opt to cut positions and departments, notably the Downtown Development Authority and the Events Coordinator.
Those cuts would be a grave mistake. The DDA is needed to make sure development continues in the city’s main business district, Jos. Campau. The Events Coordinator has already more than produced what she is paid for the position.
It’s a popular notion for politicians to campaign on a platform to cut the size of government. It’s also a cynical way to win votes and remain a career politician, ironically feeding off of taxpayers’ money. Hamtramck will wither and die without knowledgeable people steering our city.
City Councilmembers Mohammed Hassan, Cathie Gordon, Tom Jankowski and Kazi Miah need to do the right thing and raise our taxes to the rightful legal limit. We are facing a June 2 deadline to adopt a city budget for the new fiscal year.
Time is running out and work sessions on the budget are proving to be a waste of time. Make a decision, councilmembers, and yes, it’s a “hard” decision. But it’s the right decision to make sure Hamtramck weathers this economic storm.