Hamtramck may outsource fire services to Highland Park - KMSP-TV

Hamtramck may outsource fire services to Highland Park

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Hamtramck Fire Department  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Hamtramck Fire Department (Credit: Fox 2 News)

Hamtramck is a city in financial trouble, and the entire fire department could be on the chopping block.

Hamtramck residents weren't allowed into Friday's closed session council meeting.  The mayor said there is a good reason for that.

"When we're discussing contract negotiations, that is never discussed in open meetings.  That is a closed session," said Susan Dunn-Radar.

The City of Hamtramck is facing a nearly $3 million deficit.  The situation is so bad that they're choosing between issuing paychecks and funding the pension, and city officials are demanding serious concessions from their 27 firefighters.

Friday, their union offered to give up raises, slash incentive pay and increase their out of pocket pension and healthcare costs, saving the city at least $500,000 a year.

"The amount did not add up to what we asked for," Dunn-Radar said.  "I believe we asked for 1.2 [million dollars]."

Which leads some to believe the city might be leaning towards eliminating their fire department all together and outsourcing fire protection to the nearby struggling city of Highland Park, which has offered to do it for a little more than a million dollars.

"I'm not prepared to talk about anything tonight accept the negotiations that we went through today with the firemen's union," said Dunn-Radar.

"Is there a chance you may layoff the entire fire department?" I asked her.

"We're considering every option that we have and there any number of options, but nothing is off the table," she answered.

Firefighters are expected to meet with the city council next week.

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