Benton Harbor Mayor delivers State of the City address, Commissi - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Benton Harbor Mayor delivers State of the City address, Commissioner protests

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The Mayor of Benton Harbor delivered his state of the city speech Tuesday and the city did not hold back on pomp and circumstance.

The address was in the Performing Arts Center at Benton Harbor High School.

Before Mayor James Hightower spoke, a choir performed and some dancers took the stage for an interpretive dance.

Hightower and several city department leaders spoke about the current condition of the area,    especially the financial status.

"We are not on the verge of bankruptcy, but in fact, we have turned the corner and are heading in the right direction. That's mainly due to the property and homeowners of this city who approved the much needed tax millage back in May," says Hightower.

In seven months the city's deficit dropped from $2.2 million to $1.2 million.

Not everyone in Benton Harbor is happy with the Mayor's office.

Commissioner Trenton Bowens showed his anger with Hightower by picketing before the address.

Bowens wants to bring awareness to a proposed city income tax that he says would allow for repairs to infrastructure and money for a pension fund.

"With the State of the City, I believe this is a political ploy. The Mayor is only gonna show one side today and he's not letting his fellow Commissioners speak," says Bowens.

He also wanted to point out that city employees never go to Commission meetings, but do attend the Mayor's speech event.

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