By John Ulaj
On Monday afternoon while coming out of City Hall, I came across mayoral candidate Abdul Algazali. We had an interesting conversation concerning his run for office. I asked Mr. Algazali directly about the rumor surfacing throughout the city regarding his intent to cut property taxes.
When I asked for confirmation of the rumor, his answer was “I understand that the mayor has no authority to cut property taxes, but that we can adjust property values when they come to the Assessor’s Board and that will bring the property taxes down.”
I was speechless when I heard his response.
I wonder about the future of our city when candidates like Algazali are running for office on a platform based on nothing more than complaining about property taxes and city employee salaries. He offers absolutely no concrete solutions to address the city’s economic problems, and has contributed nothing more than a combative approach to working with his counterparts on the City Council.
As a past chairman of the City’s Assessors Board under former mayor Gary Zych, I fully understand how the City’s Assessor’s Board functions. Mayoral candidate Algazali is, in my opinion, clueless and dangerously incompetent concerning the operation of this board. He may choose to appoint a rubberstamp board and allow property values to be cut indiscriminately.\
This action itself will send shockwaves throughout the city, causing severe budget shortfalls and hurt police and fire service. To the people of Hamtramck, I stress that this is not a game — it is our future. It is not humorous to see candidates like Algazali seeking the top office in the city while promoting such risky strategies.
Cutting people’s property taxes indirectly through the use of the City’s Assessor’s Board is not the solution. Such a strategy is prone to cronyism and corruption. As an owner of multiple properties in the city I would love to have my property taxes reduced, but not at the cost of public safety. And believe me, that’s what would be sacrificed. I’ve explained that to Mr. Algazali but he doesn’t seem to understand the downside of his strategy. Reducing property values would result in taxes being reduced, therefore jeopardizing our safety as a city. We would not have the money to sustain sufficient police and fire department forces.
This is America and everyone has the right to run for office, but I personally believe that candidate Algazali has no business running for mayor when he promotes strategies that will negatively affect us all. Hamtramck cannot afford continued mishaps or we will end up like Highland Park — a complete disaster.
I’ve said before that the solution for our city is to encourage economic development by formulating a master plan and sticking to it. Bringing in development like the State of Michigan building on Jos. Campau will inject life to the community and boost city revenue. This is how it begins: one development at a time. Projects like this build financial strength. Then we can pave the streets and repair the infrastructure that’s badly needed, and without a tax increase.\
I must say that current Mayor Karen Majewski has done a great job coordinating and spearheading the state development project taking place on the northend of Jos. Campau.
For that reason and others, I strongly support her as the best qualified candidate for mayor. So do your homework, get the facts and get involved. Remind your friends and family about the importance of the election and get to the polls. Form car pools or do whatever is necessary to get out the vote on Nov. 3. It is crucial to the future of the city.