Mishawaka passes utility boundaries ordinance ahead of South Ben - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Mishawaka passes utility boundaries ordinance ahead of South Bend


Setting boundaries for water and sewer service may sound like a pretty boring topic, but how those boundaries are set, has led to a rather interesting fight between Mishawaka and South Bend.

Last week, the city of South Bend introduced an ordinance to establish boundaries for water and sewer service four miles outside the city limits. It's now sitting in committee.

Monday night in Mishawaka, Mayor Wood asked the council to speed up the process and get a similar ordinance passed first.

Here's why. "We're in a position where we need to protect our interests and the investment we've already made," says Wood. Wood says his city has already invested in future growth, growth that could be at risk if South Bend passed an ordinance to control sewer and water service four miles outside of city limits in all directions.

"In our case, we've already invested millions of dollars in the ground, running infrastructure to service growth," says Wood. The area he's referring to is the Capital Avenue corridor, which is an area that could have gone to South Bend if its ordinance passed first.

But Mishawaka won the race against South Bend, passing an ordinance that Wood says will formalize what he's seen as a gentleman's agreement between the two cities for years.

Wood says he was surprised when he learned about South Bend's ordinance that looked to control water and sewer service of land he believed Mishawaka had dibs on. "We didn't anticipate it at all. We've always traditionally gotten along and I anticipate we can get along well in the future, but it did come as a shock," says Wood.
Wood says South Bend left him with no choice but to ask the council to suspend rules and allow for a complete passage in one night, instead of going through its typical process.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg released a statement about the issue Monday:

"By proceeding with their own ordinance, Mishawaka officials are pursuing what they believe to be in their best interest, just like South Bend is protecting our ratepayers' interests with our legislation. Our goals are compatible, and we look forward to continuing to partner with Mishawaka to help both cities prosper."

An attorney with the city of Mishawaka tells FOX28 that the claim to territory is first-come, first-serve, which is why Mishawaka rushed its ordinance through.

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