It may be counterintuitive to raise taxes or government fees in times of financial hardship, but a majority of Hamtramck’s City Councilmembers did the right thing recently.
The council, except for Councilmembers Cathie Gordon and Kazi Miah, approved a $3 monthly garbage collection fee for every housing unit in the city. The fee will offset the city’s deficit spending on meeting garbage collection costs and will bring in additional revenue to offset maintenance and cleanups of the city’s 400 empty lots.
Councilmember Catrina Stackpoole was right when she said that homeowners must be held responsible for the costs of basic city services. It’s not unreasonable to demand homeowners pay their fair share.
The fee is part of an overall financial plan to pay down a projected $4.3 million city budget deficit over the next three years.
We’re perplexed, however, why councilmembers Gordon and Miah would be opposed to the fee. Miah said he would rather see “luxury” items be slashed before imposing a fee on the public. Just what are these “luxury” items Miah is referring to?
We haven’t the slightest idea what he’s talking about and Miah did not specify what he considers a luxury.
It may not be popular to vote to increase a fee or a tax on the public, but when it’s the responsible thing to do, it must be done. And yeah, come election time city officials might take some heat for imposing a fee, but that’s something you have to face when you are in public office. You can’t always be the popular one and also duck out of making responsible decisions.
There are going to be plenty of other tough decisions in the next few years. Councilmembers better grow some thick skin before then.