BENTON HARBOR By a vote of 5-3, Benton Harbor’s city commission turned down a proposal to seek an emergency loan from the state, according to WSJM.
The $2.3 million loan application has already been sent to Lansing, but the commission does not support it.
Emergency manager Tony Saunders and Mayor James Hightower are in favor of the loan. They believe it is the fastest way to consolidate debt, so that the city can regain control of its own finances.
However some say it is not wise to take on more debt, in order to pay off old debt. They say the city should use its own resources to pay off debt over time.
The commission now has ten days to come up with an alternative plan to pay off debt. If they cannot, the state will review the loan application.
The commission failed a similar proposal in November. Without the loan, Saunders says it could take up to four years to eliminate the deficit. As their emergency manager, Saunders was within his rights to seek the loan without the commission's approval.