Benton Harbor mayor gives annual state of the city address

NOW: Benton Harbor mayor gives annual state of the city address

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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. –The mayor of Benton Harbor delivered his annual state of the city address Tuesday night.

He spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic, the water crisis, the accomplishments from the past year, and the future development plan.

Mayor Marcus Muhammad talked about the city’s unities in times of crisis. Citing the health crisis brought on by COVID-19 and the ongoing water crisis in the city.

“We have our city manager, Mr. Ellis Mitchell, to help maneuver the city in crisis. Where we had our city shut down, executive orders and making sure that the city of was safe,” Mayor Muhammad said during his address.

In his speech, Mayor Muhammad mentioned the measures taken by city officials during the pandemic. How they Ordered hand sanitizers, masks, gloves and went to low-income areas to hand out PPE to residents to keep them safe.

He also spoke about the ongoing lead crisis that has been an issue since 20-18 when residents were informed their tap water in the city contained high levels of lead.

In his address Tuesday, the mayor said after four years the city has allocated $33 million to address the lead service line issue. As opposed to when the issue was first identified, the city only had $284,000 to address the problem.

And as the city continues to keep its residents safe through the water crisis, volunteers continue to distribute cases of water in Benton Harbor.

Mayor Muhammad mentioned how the city has received more than 300,000 cases of bottled water to date. Approximately 7,000 cases of water are delivered per week to residents.

He also reiterated how the water filters- received from the environmental protection agency-were found to be effective.

“We currently are out the 15th on the 90 percentile city-wide. Is this a reason to say mission accomplished? Or to run a victory lap of course not, because until every lead service line is removed from the ground from the city of Benton Harbor and every tap is clean and pure drinking water is coming out of it our mission is not completed,” Mayor Muhammad said.

According to the mayor, the city project lead service line will be replaced by the end of May 2021


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