Benton Harbor is gearing up to become free from a state appointed emergency financial manager.
Tuesday night Mayor James Hightower gave his state of the city address.
The mayor says he choose to give his speech unusually late in the year to prepare for the city's upcoming independence in 2014.
In three months the EFM will step aside and the city commission will resume control.
“We have to create the future and to prepare destiny,” says Hightower. “Decisions that we make today ultimately shape our future. We have to make the right decisions.”
Starting next year the state will appoint a transition board that will be allowed to approve any actions made by the city commission.