Governor declares financial emergency in Benton Harbor

It’s official--Michigan’s Governor today determined that a financial emergency exists in the City of Benton Harbor, that should be overseen by a state appointed emergency financial manager.

In an eight page letter to Benton Harbor Mayor Wilce Cook, the governor listed several areas of concern. The letter alleges that during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2008, the city incurred significant general fund operating deficits in 11-areas, including a $43-thousand deficit in the police budget, and a $207-thousand deficit in the city attorney’s budget.

The governor’s letter also points out that Benton Harbor hasn’t filed timely annual financial audit reports for the past eight years.

The City of Benton Harbor now has an opportunity to request a hearing on the financial emergency declaration. The deadline for requesting such a hearing is Monday, March 8, 2010.

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