October 14, 2019
Today the Buttigieg administration is preparing for the October 14 Common Council meeting, where a vote is scheduled on the proposed 2020 budget for the City of South Bend.
Resulting from months of preparation and collaboration, the administration’s budget proposal focuses strategic spending on the City’s neighborhoods, shaped with input and recommendations from several neighborhood engagement meetings held by the Council’s Residential and Neighborhoods Committee. Among the community priorities reflected in this budget proposal are the following:
1. Neighborhood infrastructure
A consistent theme of the input sessions was a desire for more funding for streetlights and sidewalks in neighborhoods. In the 2020 budget, funding for the “Light Up South Bend” initiative has been increased to $250,000 (up from $200,000 in 2019) and funding for the Council’s Curb and Sidewalk initiative has been increased to $750,000 (up from $500,000 in 2019). Funding has also been increased for traffic calming measures to ensure safe speeds through neighborhoods. The 2020 budget includes $400,000 for traffic calming (up from $250,000 in 2019)
2. Street funding
Both the Council and the administration heard from residents that funding for road resurfacing was a major priority. The 2020 budget maintains City funding for road resurfacing, even in the face of declining tax revenue from the wheel tax and gas tax leaving the city to shoulder a greater proportion of road funding relative to the state.
3. Violence reduction initiatives
The 2020 budget includes the launch of a new “Community Initiatives” division in the Mayor’s Office, which will be tasked with convening stakeholders throughout South Bend to build upon existing violence reduction strategies and support additional and complementary efforts. The division will oversee $360,000 dedicated to grants for violence reduction initiatives. Securing this funding as part of the 2020 budget will enable the new administration to work right away to select and invest in collaborations to promote safety and justice in South Bend.
4. Youth engagement and employment
A major theme of the neighborhood input sessions was the importance of intentionality around the City’s employment of young people, in which better opportunities can improve educational outcomes and reduce violence. To this end, the City is proposing a new “Youth Employment Coordinator” position in the 2020 budget. This position will develop a coordinated, City-wide strategy for employing and engaging teens and young people.
5. Overcoming 2020 fiscal curb
As expected, the full effect of the circuit breaker property tax caps will be felt in 2020, leading to revenue reductions in every governmental unit in the area. In partnership with the Council, the administration has worked to ensure that the City is prepared for these reductions. The 2020 budget continues to invest in major priorities while preserving a balanced budget in key funds.
“I want to thank Common Council members and involved residents for their strong partnership in developing an excellent 2020 budget proposal,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “Despite the challenges posed by the fiscal curb, our proposal delivers on several key priorities that promote equity, safety, and neighborhood empowerment. I hope that our proposal will receive favorable action at this evening’s Council meeting.”
The October 14 Common Council meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. on the fourth floor of the County City Building and is open to the public.