Tax increase gives city time to plan

We’re not going to say “Hooray” about this.

That’s because no one likes to pay more taxes.

But the City Council (except for councilmembers Mohammed Hassan and Kazi Miah) did a brave thing – at least politically speaking – on Tuesday by raising the property tax by 2.2 mills.

Before we go further, let us point out that for the average homeowner, this increase will mean an additional $50 to $55 a year. That’s a small price to pay to keep the city financially sound and to prevent the state from taking over and appointing an emergency financial manager.

Yes, there is a possibility that an EFM will one day come into town. City officials say that by the year 2013 Hamtramck could be in serious financial trouble. The meager 2.2 property tax increase gives us some time to strategize.

Besides, by the year 2013 Hamtramck won’t be the only city in financial trouble, given the state revenue cuts that Gov. Rick Snyder and his Republican cohorts have imposed.

In fact, just about every city is going to be trouble if the Republicans have their way. But that’s a different story for another time.

What Hamtramck has to deal with in the immediate future is not only a slight increase in property taxes but also convincing police and firefighter unions that they have to make severe contract concessions.

We’re talking about a 20 percent contribution in their health benefit package, wage freezes and the elimination of minimum staffing levels.

It’s a big deal. But this is the new reality for not only Hamtramck but communities nationwide.

The alternative is a state takeover of the city and who knows what would happen to the city then.

In the meantime, we have some breathing room, unless of course a slight majority of councilmembers chicken out on the 2.2 property tax increase in the coming weeks before it’s a done deal.

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