$56M proposed cut in South Bend city budget


The City of South Bend will have to make do with less money next year.

The city's proposed budget for 2015 is more than $56 million less than this year's.

It may seem like a drastic change but the deputy mayor says there's a reason for it.

The majority of the money will be going to utilities, public safety and economic development but the city says property tax caps are hitting local government like South Bend hard.

More than $311 million is the city of south bend's proposed budget for 2015 which is down from $367 million this year.

in 2015 the largest chunk of money would go to utilities.

Deputy Mayor Mark Neal says, "Waste water, trash pickup, leaf pickup in the fall. All of those constitute our utilities budget."

A $56 million difference may seem like a lot but Neal says part of it is because of money the city has borrowed in the past.

This year they had to pay more of it back so they budgeted for it but in 2015 there won't be as much money to pay back so they don't need to leave room for as much money.

One thing the city is not willing to sacrifice is public safety which is slated to get the second largest amount next year.

Neal says, "We do not expect to see an increase in the number of sworn police officers or firefighters but we certainly do expect that we'll be making other investments in our public safety units so they can be as effective and efficient as they can possibly be."

Aaron Goldstein is the owner of Michiana Brewers Supply.

He recently opened up shop in downtown South Bend on Michigan Street.

He was happy to hear that another one of south bend's priorities for the budget is economic development.

Goldstein says, "Ultimately that grows more jobs. If you can get more businesses down here it's just better for everybody."

Neal says investing in economic development will help create jobs and attract new companies to the city.

The budget also includes projects that the city thinks people living in South Bend will appreciate.

Neal says, "Our Smart Streets initiative, our Western and Lincolnway corridors, looking at our park's five year master plan and also just looking at how we're taking neighborhoods and providing lighting and looking at curb-sidewalk work to be done in the future."

Neal says the South Bend Common Council needs to approve a budget for 2015 by November first.

They can approve the proposed budget or reduce the amount but they can not add to it.