Benton Harbor EFM hosted a town hall meeting Monday

It's no secret that Benton Harbor is in financial trouble. Residents filled a room to meet the city's new Emergency Financial Manager Monday night, to find out how he plans to tackle the problem.

He has been on the job for seven days, and says he wants to make the city's finances more transparent than they have ever been before.

The city has been unable to fund its pension program for police and firefighters, and has been borrowing heavily from its water fund to cover general expenses.

“That's really no way to do business so we have to fix that,” said Benton Harbor EFM Tony Saunders. “So when you pay your water bills, that money is supposed to stay in the water fund. That's how we determine what your rates are. That's how we determine capital improvements. We determine a lot of things based on the based on the revenue collected.”

The new EFM says money is going to be tight for the city next month, when one of its debt service payments is due.

Several residents had questions for Saunders. But the consensus from everyone who spoke is that they want to put the past behind them, and move forward in a spirit of cooperation.


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