Letter to the Editor

In case you missed last week’s issue of The Citizen, this is a letter I sent which appeared last week.

Dear Editor,
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.
Hillary Cherry

6 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor

  1. In case anyone is wondering and didn’t watch the council meeting last night, Michael Curis, the developer of the housing project and Aldi, bought many tickets to Karen Majewski’s political fundraiser two weeks ago. Curis also bought tickets to an event for Ken Cockrel Jr. and gave at least two of them to Erik Tungate, a member of the Hamtramck EDC who was just elected as chair. Tungate gave these tickets to Karen Majewski and Scott Klein. When I brought this up at the Hamtramck EDC meeting, Marcia Gebarowski told me that this is how developers work.

    Klein’s defense to this behavior at the meeting last night was that Tom Jankowski and Steve Shaya, people who are interested in doing contract work for the city, also bought tickets to Majewski’s fundraiser at Polonia restaurant.

    To be clear, none of this is illegal that I know of, it’s just disgusting.

    The word on everyone’s lips today is “recall”.

  2. Not to be flip, but who’s “everyone” (sorry, reading too much Dilbert)? And I thought the owner of Polonia didn’t have much love for the mayor at the moment to have a fund raiser at his place. Is this Tom Jankowski the former mayor?

  3. Everyone = everyone who called me today, stopped me on the street, or sent e-mail to tell me how much they agree with the points that I made during public comment last night.

    I asked Alicja about that, and she says that Polonia has hosted Majewski’s fundraisers every year. They didn’t know about the project when the fundraiser was scheduled, presumably because the public notices required by law were never sent to the adjacent property owners.

    Yes, Tom Jankowski is also the former mayor.

  4. Sorry, I get on the Spartacus lady at work when they use hyperbole too. Everyone is just shorthand for “people you know”. Nothing wrong with that. I agree, the city has been sloppy with this project, especially if they want to win hearts and minds. Just I’ve heard all this recall stuff before and it usually has the same effect as a petition, but costs more money.

  5. No apology necessary. I tend to roll my eyes when people talk about recalls too. People are really angry this time though. Council talked about dead-ending the primary sewer for the East side of Joseph Campau last night like it is no big deal, and there are no plans on file as to where they intend to relocate it. I guess residents of the new housing project will just have to hang it off the balcony.

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