To look at future of Hamtramck, go west

By Charles Sercombe

Hamtramck is feeling mighty broke these days.

Just how far can a city go to balance its budget?

Look no further than one-square mile sized Maywood, California. The city was so burdened with debt that it decided to lay off all its employees.

That included cops, city hall employees and school crossing guards. The work was outsourced to neighboring cities. The Los Angeles County Sheriffs took over policing.

The city’s police force took up over $8 million of its $16 million budget.

Hamtramck, in contrast, is two miles in area and has an $18 million budget. About $8 million goes to public safety. By January, it’s feared the city will not only run out of money to pay its employees, but that it will also be $3 million in the hole.

Can Hamtramck take the step that Maywood took?

There are a lot of differences between the two cities, but if the state were to step in and appoint a financial manager, you can pretty much bet many of Hamtramck’s jobs would be outsourced.

That could mean disbanding the police and fire departments.

It’s not likely that local officials would ever agree to such drastic measures. For sure, it would be political suicide.

But it’s said that California is often a trendsetter that the rest of the country eventually follows. Will Hamtramck soon be California dreaming? Stay tuned.

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