On Tuesday, an update by the city manager on the financial future of the city was grim.
In a special City Council meeting called to discuss the city’s finances, City Manager Bill Cooper said – more or less — it looks inevitable that Hamtramck will be heading into state receivership.
Hamtramck’s budget outlook nose-dived within the past year, starting with a dispute with the City of Detroit over how much both cities share in tax revenue from GM’s Poletown plant.
Bottom line: Detroit is holding back $3 million – so far – that Hamtramck had been expecting and already budgeted. An audit is being done to clear up the dispute, but the matter could drag out indefinitely.
In the meantime, Hamtramck doesn’t have enough money to pay all its bills, and the city will be forced to use up its $2 million rainy day fund. By this time next year there won’t be anything left in the fund.
Cooper is mulling over a few ideas on how to survive, including merging police and fire services. But in order to make a major restructuring of the city, the state will have to place it under the control of an emergency financial manager.
While the financial manager won’t have the power to break union employee contracts, the manager can ask state officials to make the necessary changes.
In the coming years, folks, Hamtramck will undergo a change in how it operates. Hopefully, for most people there won’t be a difference in quality of life. But considering how deep in trouble the economy is, we as a region and a country are in for the long haul before things get better.
The number one thing hurting communities here and elsewhere? Jobs. Too many good-paying jobs have been lost. Without jobs, people can’t pay their mortgages and basic needs and therefore cities lose out on tax collections.
We’ve said this before and we will continue to bang this drum: the US needs to force manufacturers to return our jobs from offshore or the security of our nation will be deeply weakened.
That should be a rallying point for anyone who wishes to be elected to office.