Benton Harbor voters say 'Yes' to millage

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- During a special election Tuesday night, the two millage proposals passed by a landslide. Over 80 percent of the voters who came out were in favor of it.

It is supposed to help fund the city's police officers, firefighters, and medical crews.

The millage will save taxpayers money and it will ensure that public services, like public safety, are well funded. City officials say the most important aspect of the millage is that it will provide the city with stability.

"This is a great thing for the City of Benton Harbor in terms of moving forward," said Mayor James Hightower. "It's positioning ourselves to move to local control, but more importantly it's to make sure we have a foundation for solid budget."

The newly passed millage will lock the budget in place for the next 10 years. It is $1 million per year the city can count on year after year when planning the budget.

"It makes me breathe a little bit easier," said Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Tony Sauders. "We are still going to have a lot of budget cuts that are going to be presented in this upcoming budget, but without this millage, to be honest with you, I don’t know how presenting a budget would even be possible while maintaining an adequate level of services."

City officials say the passage of the millage was an important first step on the long road ahead. They say it also speaks volumes for the city because finally everyone seems to be in agreement on what is best for the city.

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