The city’s recent $1.6 million settlement from a basement flooding lawsuit filed by 200 residents has plenty of folks ticked off.
And we don’t blame homeowners for being upset about handing over – on average — $250 this year in a special tax.
But there is a much deeper issue here.
And that issue is about the effects of the anti-tax rhetoric that has crept into the national dialogue.
Namely, if we as a nation refuse to invest in ourselves, sooner or later our roads, bridges, sewers and other parts of our infrastructure will fall apart.
When that happens, people’s property ends up being damaged. And then lawsuits get filed.
That means we end up paying one way or another.
In Hamtramck’s case, the city long ago stopped regular maintenance on our sewers. Oh, if parts of the system broke down, things got patched up. But during this latest lawsuit, it came to light that the city could not provide maintenance records.
Long ago, our city leaders should have had the courage to ask voters to OK a special tax to keep our water and sewer lines in good shape. Instead, they pandered to the anti-tax crowd.
So it comes as no surprise that when basements become backed up with raw, feces-infested, sewer water, folks are going to sue.
It is estimated that it will take as much as $60 million to fix the water and sewer lines, say city officials.
That’s an insane amount of money. It would take a mass infusion of state and federal dollars to make this happen.
Hamtramck’s choice is to continue on the same path and not make major repairs, and face more and more lawsuits, or make a case to the community why it needs to also pitch in.
Certain candidates and elected officials boast that they will never vote for a tax hike. These folks are merely posturing for votes. They don’t really care about the city, nor do they have the slightest idea on how to keep this city running.
It takes courage to be a real leader and to be honest with people to let them know what’s at stake.
Remember, it’s either pay now, or pay later.