Finding fault for city’s financial crisis ignores the core problem



           The blame game.

          That’s what some folks in town played when a state financial review team visited here last week. The community was able to meet the team and offer comments about the city.

          Only a handful of residents were on hand, however, because notice of the meeting went out late. But nevertheless the comments we heard were telling.

          Some wanted to blame past city officials while others blamed present day city officials for causing the financial mess the city is facing.

          Curious thing though. What people didn’t seem to realize is that the financial review team was not created to assign blame to any one person or persons. It’s here to determine whether there is indeed a true financial crisis.

          If the team decides there is, it’s then up to the governor to take action.

          Pointing fingers here in Hamtramck is an obsession with some folks. What they fail to realize, though, is that the majority of Hamtramck’s spending is dictated by labor contracts or grant guidelines.

          There is very little discretionary spending for city officials.

          And what some people forget is that Hamtramck, like many communities, was hit with a perfect storm of financial setbacks: state revenue cuts and shrinking tax collections because of the collapsed housing markets and the loss of manufacturing taxes.

          In other words, Hamtramck is not alone in trying to balance its budget. In fact, it’s impossible and it’s not the fault of anyone.

          What we have to concentrate on going forward is how to make ends meet. That’s going to take a dramatic overhaul of how the city provides basic services.

          We can guarantee one thing: folks are not going to be happy with the changes that will come.

          Blaming city officials for the city’s financial struggle is nothing more than scapegoating for political reasons.


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