Reader feedback … Tackling the city’s financial crunch

By Charles Sercombe
Readers have once again been busy discussing the issues of the week.
Former Hamtramck School Boardmember Nasr Hussain had the most to say in our comment sections for the stories we posted online at hamtramckreview.com.
This past week, he focused on the city’s financial challenges ahead. For the first time in several years, the city is facing deficit spending this coming fiscal year.
Fortunately, the city has a $6 million financial cushion to absorb the blow of spending $2.3 million in the red.
Hussain thinks city officials are on the wrong track by dipping into the city’s budget surplus:
“Continuing to redo the same actions, hoping to get different results, is a form of insanity. The only hope for this city is the removal of restrictions on business development in its ordinances.
“Abolishing the city’s income tax should be the first step to attract businesses and investment to our city.
Dennis Nowak doesn’t agree with eliminating the income tax:
“Abolishing the city income tax is a recipe for financial
disaster for the City of Hamtramck.
“Ask the City Treasurer, City Manager and Finance Director what implications that action you propose will have on the city’s ability to meet its obligations.
Hussain replied:
“I don’t need to ask. The city has been through bankruptcy twice with this tax revenue stream. And projected to go into it again by the persons you are referring me to ask, with income tax still here.
“This is the best time to try something different. The budget surplus will allow us to go for a year or two without income tax and see the difference. If nothing changes, then it can be easily re-instituted.
“We pay the highest insurance rates and water rates. Income tax is something that is under our control to get rid of. Only failing cities like Detroit, Pontiac, Flint and Highland Park have income tax. Successful cities don’t.
“It made sense when the city was full of factories but now the burden mostly falls on struggling city residents.
“Besides, it discourages wealthy people and businesses from staying in the city, and causes continuous flight or the residents to the suburbs where there is no such tax.
Hussain also claims some city leaders don’t live here:
“Even our city leaders, who have a choice, do not live in Hamtramck with income tax being one of the reasons they don’t.
“Not to mention other ‘leaders’ who fake residency in Hamtramck.
“What Hamtramck needs is people with more ‘brain-power’ not ‘money.’ Hamtramck can be one of the richest cities in Michigan if managed correctly.”
June 7, 2019

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