By Charles Sercombe
City officials took the first step toward figuring out how to balance the city’s budget.
But it didn’t come easy.
Acting City Manager Kyle Tertzag asked the city council to adopt an updated budget last week, but ran into opposition from Councilmember Cathie Gordon.
Gordon accused Tertzag of “hyper-inflating” the budget, and she also objected to adopting a budget that’s not balanced.
Tertzag questioned Gordon over why he would “hyper-inflate’ the budget, and he also pointed out that adopting the budget, even with a deficit, is the first step toward coming up with a plan to balance it.
The council eventually OK’d the new budget, with the exception of Gordon.
As it stands now, the city takes in approximately $15 million but spends about $18 million per year.
Tertzag said there is a $2.7 million deficit to overcome.
He previously said he is seeking a 20 percent cut across the board. That meant asking the city’s employees, including police and firefighters, to agree to cuts. Employees were given the proposal about a week ago, he said, and he expects to “circle back” to the employees within a week.
There is one thing for certain, he said. State officials will not allow the city to operate with a budget deficit.
“They are not going to fund the status quo,” he said.
Without a budget deficit elimination plan, Hamtramck won’t receive a $3 million emergency loan, which the city applied for several weeks ago.
If the city does not receive the loan, Tertzag said he expects payless paydays within the next couple of months. The city has $800,000 on hand, which is good enough to cover two payrolls.