In case you missed last week’s issue of The Citizen, this is a letter I sent which appeared last week.
I’m writing you today in response to a letter printed in the June 14 edition of The Citizen from Councilman Scott Klein. At best, his letter was not accurate, and at worst, deliberately misleading.
Money from the general fund has been used on the Shoppers World project. The general fund has paid the salaries of employees working on the project, for lawyers to draft documents, and for unnecessary environmental assessments. Much of the site preparation and relocation of utilities is expected to be financed through loans taken out by the Downtown Development Authority. The DDA is a city board which receives the majority of its budget from the general fund. The city won’t be done paying when the development is built. The DDA is expected to make payments on these loans for 9 years or more.
Klein’s letter also claims that the taxable value of the site will increase, but the taxable value of properties within the DDA district is capped. All tax revenue above the amount currently being collected will be taken by the DDA and Economic Development Corporation, while the general fund will have to bear the burden of services used by new residents of the project. The average MSHDA subsidized apartment pays around $120 per year in taxes, less than 1/10th of the taxes paid by the average rental in Hamtramck. Every time these new residents call for the police, fire department, or ambulance, they will be using an underfunded service that they are not paying for.
The city council is currently planning to dedicate half the parking spaces in the city parking lot for the use of Aldi shoppers and building residents. The developer expects his tenants to be able to park for free, which will reduce the amount of parking revenue going to the general fund. Worst of all, the loss of parking will harm existing businesses and make storefronts on Joseph Campau less desirable.
This development is not in the best interest of Hamtramck residents or businesses. It is being considered only because campaign donations from the developer are more important to its supporters than the financial health of the city.