South Bend Council delays budget, salary vote - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend Council delays budget, salary vote

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The South Bend Common Council got its first look at Mayor Pete Buttigieg's budget back in August.

Two months later, Councilmembers are still taking a magnifying glass to the more than $55 million in spending.

The Council decided to push the vote on the budget to a special meeting on Wednesday.

The proposed budget is actually down nearly 13 percent from last year, but the Council still had may questions for the Mayor both during the committee meeting and full Council meeting Monday.

One of the sticking points is funding for the Mayor's Smart Streets initiative.

The Mayor is asking for more than $7 million for the multi-phase project.

"I just think we have a great opportunity in front of us to kickstart downtown growth with one of the most powerful things that we can do," says Buttigieg.

Councilmembers still had their doubts. Councilman Henry Davis Jr. says the project is a gamble.

Councilman Oliver Davis says there will likely be an amendment proposed before Wednesday's meeting to scale back that project.

"That's the whole nature of the budget, where the Mayor presents something to the Council and we either reject, delete, or modify in some fashion, the full budget, which is best for the full city of South Bend," says Davis.

Another concern was raised during the Committee meeting Monday afternoon to provide funding to put in permanent wells near the South Bend Ethanol Plant where homeowners experienced flooding after the plant shut down.

Funding for that was not originally in the budget, but the administration made a change before the full Council meeting to include $350,000 for that project.

"The neighbors have been suffering for over a year and we needed to do something today. Not wait til next year, not wait til later on, but we needed to take action tonight," says Davis.

The council discussed salaries for appointed officials. The Mayor is asking for a raise for a number of positions, including more than 34 percent for his Chief of Staff, in order
to stay competitive. Some positions aren't receiving a raise at all.

The Council also voted to push back a final vote on the salary ordinance until Wednesday.

That meeting is at 7:00pm in Council chambers on the 4th floor of the County-City Building.

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