Last week, the city council and the mayor received some sobering financial news.
If spending continues at the current rate, the city will be $11 million in the hole within a few years, said City Manager Kathy Angerer.
Hamtramck is on the receiving end of a one-two punch to the gut. GM’s Poletown Plant will likely close come June, which will mean the loss of about $800,000 a year the company pays to the city in lieu of property taxes.
On top of that, it’s also likely that in a few years Wayne County will transfer prisoners from its Hamtramck jail to the new one being built in Detroit.
That will mean the loss of $1.1 million the county pays Hamtramck each year, again in lieu of property taxes.
Hamtramck is no stranger to financial crises. The city has twice been put under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager because local officials could not solve their financial problems.
For the most part, there was little that could be done because of binding labor contracts. The state’s emergency manager law gives EM’s more leverage to deal with those kinds of issues.
City Manager Angerer invited elected officials to come up with revenue producing ideas. The reality is, the city has to prepare for some deep cuts to its budget.
Whatever cuts or changes are made, they will cause some folks to cry foul.
There has been talk of possibly recreating how firefighting service is provided. That proposal has been met with howls of protest.
The one thing those opposed to any such changes have not done is offer solutions to fix the huge budget deficit the city is facing.
We are not saying we are in favor of any changes at this moment until something concrete is proposed. Until then, we all have to keep an open mind.
If we do nothing but throw our collective hands up in defeat, you can bet the third time won’t be the charm when the state is forced once again to bail out the city.
Feb. 22, 2019