Mayor Buttigieg talks taxes, key initiatives in annual financial address to Common Council

WSBT 22 photo

Celebrating the successes of the past year and looking to the challenges that lie ahead: that was the focus of the mayor's annual financial address to the Common Council tonight (Monday).

Mayor Buttigieg admits there are challenges ahead, but there's good news from last year.

The city spent less than what it brought in through tax revenue.

It also has a AA rating, the same rating given to suburbs around Indianapolis. Buttigieg says that's exceptional in a low-income community.

He says the city has been exempt from from a state tax cap since 2010.

That exemption ends in 2020 meaning less property taxes will be coming into the city. It's projected to be a $2 million loss.

To address this fiscal curb, the city plans to find ways to save on health care costs.

It will also implement a soft hiring plan on city positions.

Overall, the mayor says South Bend is fiscally healthy.

“In order to keep it that way, we will have to keep making difficult choices but a mix of investments and the future and taking care not spending more than we need to,” said Buttigieg. “Plus, making our services more efficient has paid off and I think it will be how we can beat some of those financial pressures in the years to come.”

The mayor also discussed key initiatives for this year.

The 2019 key initiatives will help create:

-Safe Community for Everyone

-Robust and Well Planned Infrastructure

-Well-Governed Administered City

-Strong, Inclusive Economy

-Thriving Public Spaces and Culture

-Vibrant, Welcoming Neighborhoods

Also at tonight's Common Council meeting, members passed a resolution requesting the administration pursue a pilot program to reduce the number of panhandlers in the city.

It would offer them jobs to maintain public spaces and parks for compensation.

The mayor says he will sign the resolution and acknowledge the Council's recommendation.

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