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Michigan's Department of Treasury says it has no plans to take over Buchanan

A white sign for Buchanan City Hall sits on the manila brick building of the same name. The sign has a light blue trim around it, with the text reading "Welcome to Buchanan, Life is better here" finish with the label of the building.
Michael Symonds
City finances have been a major topic of discussion in recent meetings of the Buchanan City Commission.

The former city manager claimed that the state was poised to take control of the small Berrien County city.

Buchanan’s financial situation has been the subject of discussion at many city commission meetings, with both officials and residents chiming in, and rumors spreading that the state will get involved.

Recently-resigned City Manager Ben Eldridge said at a commission meeting in September that if the city "finishes in the red" in the 2023-2024 financial year, "the state of Michigan will send somebody here to take over the city like they did in Benton Harbor twice."

But in a later meeting, Buchanan Mayor Sean Denison said that was false.

“I'm here to tell you tonight as mayor, the city of Buchanan has not been contacted by the state concerning any such thing," Denison said. "That story is misinformation and unequivocally untrue.” 

The Michigan Department of Treasury confirms that no takeover of Buchanan is in the offing. Spokesman Ron Leix said Buchanan is in good standing with the treasury.

Denison did call the city’s financial situation challenging. He said it needs to fix the city’s aging infrastructure, but state reductions in revenue sharing have made this difficult.

Michael Symonds reports for WMUK through the Report for America national service program.

Report for America national service program corps member Michael Symonds joined WMUK’s staff in 2023. He covers the “rural meets metro” beat, reporting stories that link seemingly disparate parts of Southwest Michigan.