We have spilled a lot of ink in recent months about the GM Poletown plant and what its existence means to Hamtramck.
The plant plays a major role in the city’s finances, to the tune of about $700,000 a year in a special deal in lieu of paying property taxes.
For a brief moment, it looked like GM was going to close down the plant, and that posed a serious potential financial setback for the city. As it turned out, that threat was a ploy to pressure UAW workers to settle their contract strike and come back to work.
Well, the strike did eventually end, but not necessarily because of GM’s announcement that the plant would close.
With the strike settled, everything looked rosy. But then GM announced that the plant would undergo retooling to accommodate the production of electric-fueled vehicles – a technology of the future, industry insiders are saying.
But in order to retool the plant, production would be shut down for up to two years. During this time, according to the special tax deal with the city, GM won’t be paying Hamtramck much of anything.
That means we are back to square one, financially-speaking – at least for the next two years.
So, now city officials are going to have to scramble to find a way around a loss of $700,000 this year and next.
One reader has suggested that GM should be forced to keep paying the city what it normally does, because, well, it’s only fair.
But unfortunately, a deal is a deal.
How this financial challenge will be worked out is still unknown, but we can guarantee that there will be sacrifices that will have to be made.
Feb. 14, 2020