Tell us if you’ve heard this one before.
The city is going broke.
But this time it’s for real — really.
Yes, this warning has been repeated for many months now. And so has the dire warning that this time, it’s imminent. Well, even if we sound like the proverbial boy who cried wolf too many times, Hamtramck’s finances are indeed looking bad.
Acting City Manager Erik Tungate painted a grim picture at a city council work session on Tuesday.
Unless the city gets a loan, money will run out in another two to four weeks. There is a good chance the city will get an emergency loan, but sooner or later some hard truths are going to appear.
Hamtramck simply can’t afford itself. There is not enough money to cover our expenses.
The gap in the budget is anywhere between $2 to $3 million.
Money from state financial aid has been drastically reduced by our governor and his Republican colleagues. Hamtramck is not alone in these cuts. All of the communities in the state are experiencing financial woes because of them.
And since property values have tanked, there is less money being collected from property taxes.
Perhaps the biggest hit has been the loss of manufacturing tax money.
We’ve gone over this list before. No matter how many times city officials meet and try to map out a strategy, the answer is the same: we cannot possibly cut enough services without endangering our public safety.
What’s the answer?
It seems inevitable to us, yet at the same time it’s an unacceptable option. But it’s one that’s coming regardless of what we want or wish.
And the awful truth about the future is we are going to have to merge either police or fire services with another community, or combine the two departments or some other hybrid solution.
Again, Hamtramck is not alone in facing this dilemma.