By John Ulaj
It’s no secret that Hamtramck is facing tough economic times.
During the past few weeks, the City Council has met to discuss the deficit Hamtramck is facing — thanks to Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. The City of Detroit, under the Bing Administration, is trying to strong-arm our city, by violating the terms spelled out in a revenue sharing agreement concerning the GM Poletown plant. This is an arrangement whereby Hamtramck receives $4 million a year for the life of the plant.
Well, guess what? Detroit disputes this claim, and is only willing to give the city $2 million because Detroit claims part of this agreement expired. If their claim stands, this $2 million shortfall would send shockwaves throughout the city that could severely impact our way of life.
The budget shortfall would likely result in the laying off of police and firefighters, not to mention city inspectors and other personnel. I find this unacceptable. Is it our fate to become the next Highland Park? Highland Park just hired new officers at the rate of pay of $15 an hour, with no benefits. Are these the kind of police and fire departments YOU want?
Mayor Bing, and his administration cannot get away with stealing our money. We must fight back, as a city united. My friends, we have been through many battles in this city, and we have always survived. The time has come once again to fight back, and we need your support.
I have a solution that could bring our city victory in this matter. Brainstorming on this issue has given me an idea that could work — if the people have faith and stand strong. A city is only strong if the people have the will to stand together. First, however, I would like to say that, when it comes to any suggestion of a tax increase, I am adamantly opposed to it. But although I myself own several pieces of property here in town, I believe that we have to put the good of the city before our own selfish interests. I am talking about a minor property tax millage.
The city requires about $450,000 a year to offset current public safety costs while we take on this battle in court. If we have the vision to vote a 3 mill increase in our property taxes, this would then cost you, as a homeowner, about $50 a year. That’s equivalent to the cost of a cup of coffee per week. The tax would come off the rolls after five years, which would give the city plenty of time to emerge victorious. The revenue thus raised, meanwhile, would ensure our city’s basic services, while giving our government the power to fight Detroit and WIN.