How budget cuts will affect city

By Charles Sercombe

So, just who is going to lose their job with the city? Here’s the body count:

Five school crossing guards

One inspection supervisor

One code enforcer

One parking ticket aide

One general clerk in the Public Works Department

One laborer in the Public Works Department

The city’s Events Coordinator

Two unfilled positions in the Police Department

One unfilled position in the Fire Department

Shocked? Well, it’s a good bet that many will think laying off five school crossing guards – the entire staff – is … uh … insane. Not to worry, sort of, says City Manager Bill Cooper, he’s in discussions with the public school district to pony up and offset that cost.

(Note to Bill Cooper: the public school district is facing a $1.7 million budget deficit. Good luck with that plan.)

So why is it the city’s responsibility to pay for school crossing guards? Probably because sometime — a long time ago — that’s just how things worked out.

The parking ticket aide? Cooper says the city will have to increase parking ticket fines and that the one remaining parking enforcer is going to have to step it up – if she wants to keep her job.

The two unfilled positions in the Police Department won’t cause an increase in overtime costs to cover minimum staffing requirements, Cooper said, nor will it mean disbanding special assignment squads, such as the auto theft division or the street officer position.

(Note to Cooper: Do not underestimate the ability of the police officers’ union to make sure overtime costs do indeed increase. Just sayin’)

The repercussions of losing Eve Doster Knepp, the city’s special events coordinator? Among several special events she produces, Eve has been responsible for reviving the annual Hamtramck Labor Day Festival.

Last year, it was without a doubt a major success.

This coming year? If it were up to Councilmember Catrina Stackpoole, it will be canceled. But it’s not because she’s a killjoy or sourpuss because she failed to convince – at least at this point – her fellow councilmembers to raise property taxes by 2.3 mills (an increase of 65 bucks a year for the average Hamtramck homeowner).

She says that a proposal going around to bring in volunteers to run the event is unacceptable – considering the many liability concerns, nor does she believe anyone will take over the job for a compensation as low as $8,000 – which is something Councilmember Cathie Gordon insists can be done.

So the future of the festival? It’s on hold for now.

5 Responses to How budget cuts will affect city

  1. Guest

    May 28, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    If anyone wants special events and festivals at these dire times, then let them pay for it from their own pockets.

  2. Paul

    May 30, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    The best thing Hamtramck has going for it is its festivals and its culture status. This is where Hamtramck’s future was always anchored. Anything that jeopardizes the festival, the development authority and the ability for the city to increase its prestige in these areas is plain stupidity.

  3. Allam

    May 30, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    What’s stupid?
    Spending money festivals while the city is going bankrupt !
    If you want a festival, or whoever else wants one, then pay for it.

  4. Paru

    June 1, 2010 at 12:52 pm

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