Some residents protesting Benton Harbor outsourcing plans - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Some residents protesting Benton Harbor outsourcing plans

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Benton Harbor city officials want to sell their cemeteries to outside companies in hopes of both cutting costs and giving people in the city better up keep inside the facilities.

But not everyone is excited about that idea.  About a dozen people were out Thursday morning protesting in front of city hall.  They don't want the city to privatize the water department, the department of public works or the two city cemeteries.

They also say that outsourcing those departments will cost the city jobs. City officials say the cost cutting measures are working as they plan on lowering water rates in October.

On Wednesday Reverend Edward Pinkey contacted FOX28 about a protest going on in downtown Benton Harbor on Thursday. It's scheduled for 10 am outside City Hall, which is located at 200 Wall Street.

Organizer, Reverend Edward Pinkey, and the protesters are calling for Benton Harbor's Emergency Manager, Tony Saunders, to step down. Saunders took over for former Emergency Manager Joe Harris in February.

The following is a statement from the city of Benton Harbor:
"After many months of meetings with the EFM, I am so proud to be able to help lessen the burden on the residents by lowering the water rates by 5%. The residents have needed this relief for sometime. I know for a fact the new EFM Tony Saunders is working hard to partner with those willing to work to improve the quality of services for the city of Benton Harbor. It's a new attitude and new look for the city of a Benton Harbor."
Commissioner Duane L. Seats II.

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