Perhaps one of the more curious things to come to light in all the recent talk about the city’s financial situation is that we have been sitting on $3 million in road repair funds.
The fund is commonly referred to as Act 51.
That’s $3 million that could have been used to begin a slow but steady improvement of Hamtramck’s busted up roads.
We can also tap into 10 percent of the money to begin fixing up sidewalks.
“Could have” is the operative phrase here, because instead of making repairs, the city just sat on the money.
And the worst part is that slip and fall lawsuits have sharply increased in recent years because the city has failed to make repairs. In fact, there have been so many lawsuits the city is basically now self-insured.
That means any successful lawsuit award comes out of our pockets.
We don’t know who to blame for allowing road repair money to go unused, but it is refreshing to hear that Acting City Manager Kyle Tertzag is coming up with a plan to begin sidewalk repairs.
It’s likely that one reason city officials refused to spend the money is so they could use it to make employee payrolls. Out of the $3 million, $500,000 has already been tapped for payroll.
The city is obligated to pay that back.
There is a lot of hard work ahead for city officials to figure out how to balance the budget. Balancing the budget, however, should not come at the expense of funding street and sidewalk repairs.
Let’s start spending that money the way it is supposed to be used.