Hamtramck released from receivership

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

The city of Hamtramck has been released from receivership, state officials said Friday.

Effective immediately, the city's government regains full control of the Hamtramck's internal operations and finances without state oversight, Michigan Treasurer Nick Khouri said in a statement.

“Today marks an important achievement for Hamtramck residents, the city and all who have contributed to moving the city back to a path of fiscal stability,” he said. “I am pleased to say the city is released from receivership.”

State Treasurer Nick Khouri

Khouri said the Hamtramck Receivership Transition Advisory Board has also been dissolved. The board was appointed in 2014.

He also said the city's 2017 audit showed the community had a general fund balance of $6.5 million at the end of the fiscal year.

Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski lauded the city’s administration for working together to balance the budget.

One significant change to the operation included handling more functions internally instead of hiring contractors, Majewski said. City officials are confident they can maintain this stability, the mayor said. 

“Hamtramck is in a great position for solid growth in the future,” Majewski said. “I am pleased with the progress the city has made and ready to move forward.”

Michigan's Treasury Department was asked to conduct a preliminary review of Hamtramck's finances in February 2013. Four months later, Gov. Rick Snyder declared a financial emergency existed in the city.

The city's finances and operations were placed under the control of an emergency financial manager between July 2013 and December 2014, when the emergency was resolved and the receivership board was appointed to supervise the city's transition to local control. 

Majewski said the loss of state oversight won’t have a big impact because the city virtually made its own decisions before now. The state only had to approve them. 

The mayor said Hamtramck will now focus on hiring a permanent city manager. The municipality currently has an acting manager, but city council plans to ask voters in August to amend the charter to ease the requirements for the job, Majewski said. 

“I’m a little surprised that the state left before we hired a permanent city manager,” she said. 

The city is also looking to revive its economic development department by hiring a new director. 

“There’s a lot of stuff going on in Metro Detroit right now,” Majewski said. “And Hamtramck is right in the center of it. We need to make sure none of those opportunities pass us by.”

State officials said the cities of Allen Park, Benton Harbor, Ecorse, Lincoln Park and Pontiac have been released from receivership and had their receivership boards dissolved over the last two years. 

The city of Flint is the only municipality under state oversight through a receivership board.

Staff writer Nicquel Terry contributed.