Benton Harbor EFM looking at drastic measures to cut debt - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Benton Harbor EFM looking at drastic measures to cut debt

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Benton Harbor's Emergency Financial Manager is looking to take some drastic measures to get the city out of debt.

Joseph Harris told the media Monday that because citizens didn't vote to renew the city's millage on election day, he's looking at other options.

Those options include:

1) Closing the city's police department and relying on the county to provide services.
2) Allowing citizens to re-vote on the millage renewal.
3) Levying a Public Safety special assessment to supplement the city's property tax revenues.
4) Filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

"Sooner or later, ladies and gentleman, you have to pay the piper," says Harris.

But the city council says, 'not so fast.'

They passed a resolution at Monday's meeting that says Harris has to consult them and the Michigan Treasury department before making decisions about the city's financial crisis.

Mayor James Hightower says Harris is moving too fast.

"It's unfair to the citizens. There was no press conferences before it went on the ballot. There was no effort to educated people on what was entailed in this and what it was cause if it wasn't passed," says Hightower.

Harris was not the commission meeting, but earlier he made it pretty clear he believes he has the power to move a big decision.

Harris says he is planning to make his decision on which route to go by the end of the week and no later than December 1st.

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