Just what do state officials expect?
The city received word from the state that it won’t accept the city’s budget deficit elimination plan. The state is also refusing the city’s request for a $3 million emergency loan.
Without the loan, the city will eventually run out of money to pay its employees and vendors. If that happens the state could step in and appoint an emergency financial manager.
According to some city officials, there is also a real possibility that the state would rather fold Hamtramck and Highland Park into Detroit and deal with just one big financial mess instead of three separate ones.
In the meantime, the state has told the city that it must get deeper contract concessions from police officers and firefighters.
While we agree there could be more concessions, one has to wonder: Just how much do we expect our public safety officers to sacrifice?
Do we want to go the route of Highland Park and reduce pay to $15 an hour with no benefits?
We seriously doubt anyone wants to repeat that mistake (remember, you get what you pay for).
Hamtramck’s financial picture received a crippling blow for a variety of reasons. The main culprits have been a decrease in property taxes and a cut in state revenue sharing.
At this point, the city is spending more money than it is taking in. While it appears the simple way to solve this problem is to slash costs, there comes a point where if we cut too deeply the city won’t be able to provide services.
We have suggested this before, but it’s worth repeating and repeating until a discussion begins. One way around the problem is to ask voters to approve a special tax millage for public safety.
Homeowners have been able to save money because property values have dropped in recent years.
If we want to maintain our services and avoid becoming another Highland Park – or worse, merged with Detroit – we must all share the sacrifice. Paying out an extra $200 a year or so is a small price to keep Hamtramck intact.