Hamtramck’s turnaround is about getting the basics down



          Three weeks ago Emergency Manager Cathy Square ordered a crackdown on delinquent water bills. Work crews went out and began shutting off water service to houses and businesses that were long overdue in paying their bills.         

          Immediately, property owners began paying their bills.

          In those three weeks, the city has received over $700,000. Before the crackdown, in July, the city collected over $200,000.

          So, why didn’t the city go after water bill deadbeats in the past?

          There are no clear answers, but we deserve one.

          Thankfully, we have Cathy Square here to cut through the crap and, as she says, go after the “low hanging fruit.”

          Consider this, too: The Water Department was projecting a $300,000 budget deficit this year.

          This is a slap in the face to those who faithfully paid their water bills, and a bigger slap in the face to those who have suffered basement floodings.

          This delinquent money should have been spent on improving our water and sewage system. But instead, the city let people go for years without paying their water bills.

          It makes one wonder, is the city really broke, or is the dysfunction in city government over the years so bad we don’t know how to manage our resources?

          You can bet, though, Hamtramck is on the road to recovery. There is no doubt that there will be plenty of other discoveries to come. While we may not agree on how the current emergency manager law came about in the state legislature, thank god we are now under the state’s control.

          By the time Cathy Square leaves town, there is a good bet Hamtramck will be in very good shape. It’s up to all of us to make sure city officials keep it that way.

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