Benton Harbor’s new Emergency Financial Manager, Tony Saunders, has been on the job for eight days, and residents of the city got a chance to hear his plans for fixing the financial woes at a meeting Monday night.
The city has been unable to fund its pension program for the police and fire departments. It has even dipped into its water fund to cover general expenses and expenditures.
“What we've been doing, and this is not abnormal in distressed cities, we just don't pay the pensions system,” said Saunders, "It's the easiest thing not to pay, because when you think of retirees, you don't think of them as being right in front of you."
The meeting’s attendants also express their own financial concerns, many said they were unable to afford rising taxes and utility bills.