Benton Harbor commissioners vote in favor of ordinance to use booker funds

NOW: Benton Harbor commissioners vote in favor of ordinance to use booker funds

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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. --- The City of Benton Harbor passes an ordinance approving the use of booker funds.

At a meeting Monday night, commissioners voted in favor of the ordinance that would allow the city to use the $3 million dollar federal funds in an effort to provide improvements to the existing water supply system — which has failed residents over the past few months.

“I want to make sure that this is gonna take care everything that’s in our water plant that’s bad now and in the future and also requires that kind of money jobs for our people," said Commissioner Juanita Henry.

Benton Harbor commissioners gathered Monday night to discuss the approval of an ordinance that would give them rights to use booker funds.

The funds would be used to target infrastructure issues in the city. Residents have been dealing with lead infested tap water for months now.

“I would hate to hear anybody who is on this board with as much as we’ve been through these last 4 months where people saying they got all different kinds of water and finding out they don’t have that kind of water for us to not do something to improve the water," said Mayor Pro-Tem Duane Seats.

The booker funds which are separate from the money provided by the EPA earlier this year would require the city to commit to a loan repayment plan. An attorney for the city says the plan would be forgivable, but some commissioners were not fully convinced.

“We can’t sit up here and be making decisions and have not fairly gotten the answers that we need to be head bobbing for everything that comes before us without clear understanding. I know I can’t and will not," said Mary Alice Adams.

Despite the opposition and heated debate commissioners did vote in favor of the ordinance which Mayor Marcus Muhammad says is exactly what residents have been waiting for.

“This is the vindication. That we’ve been working on this. We bringing results and we gon’ get more results on behalf of the peoples not one commissioner. Not a mayor, but the whole body," said Mayor Muhammad.

The city did not share when they plan to begin using these funds. We’ll update you both on air and online once they do.

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