Talk about adding insult to injury.
As our readers know, Hamtramck is hurting awfully bad, financially-speaking. In fact, we are a hair’s width away from total financial collapse, and subsequently once again being taken over by a state-appointed emergency financial manager.
City officials are trying very hard to avoid that fate. Our fingers are crossed that the city will pull out of this crisis, even though there are a lot of things stacked up against us.
And now comes the insult part.
General Motors, the corporation that was on the verge of going out of business but instead bounced back thanks to US taxpayers bailing them out, is demanding a tax adjustment from the city.
In a nutshell, GM says the city’s tax bill for its equipment was out of line dating back to 2009.
The company initially demanded $160,000 in back payment, besides a tax reduction going forward.
City officials negotiated the payback down to $110,000, which is to be paid over the next two years.
Finance Director Nevrus Nazarko said his instinct is to tell GM where to go since Hamtramck is running a budget deficit and could face payless paydays if the state doesn’t come through with a $3 million emergency loan.
But, Nazarko concedes, if GM were to take its case to the state Tax Tribunal, chances are good that Hamtramck would lose anyway, because that’s the way things tend to go with the Tribunal.
So, he and the city assessor agreed to negotiate with GM.
GM’s Poletown plant has a tiny portion located in Hamtramck, but the tax money it generates for us is substantial.
Hamtramck cannot afford a tax reduction, let alone a back payment to GM.
To think, GM received a bailout from, essentially, taxpayers like us, and now it is making financial demands on a financially-strapped city.
Worse yet, as City Attorney Jim Allen pointed out, GM had the nerve to film a Volt commercial on Hamtramck’s streets extolling how connected it is with people and communities.
Sounds like false advertising to us.