Mayor Mueller says South Bend’s 2022 budget is “historic” hours before Common Council vote

Oct 11, 2021

South Bend Mayor James Mueller said the 2022 budget has 'historic' investments in infrastructure, affordable housing, community resources and public safety during a press conference at 466 Works, an infill housing development on the city's southeast side.
Credit Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE

Thanks to millions in federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan, South Bend Mayor James Mueller said the city’s 2022 budget will be a “historic” investment in infrastructure, affordable housing, community resources and public safety.

“The resources that we have from federal and state partners is accelerating our ability to transform our community and our neighborhoods,” Mueller said during a Monday afternoon press conference at 466 Works, an infill housing development on South Bend’s southeast side.

The Common Council is set to vote on the budget tonight. But some critics say the process is moving too fast and that the budget doesn’t provide enough investment for the city’s West Side.

South Bend Black Lives Matter and six neighborhood organizations released a statement Monday morning asking the council to delay the vote.

Council member Henry Davis Jr. has also called for more investment on the West Side. He said he’s not sure how he will vote tonight.

“We hope that we have a better conversation between now and before the vote actually takes place,” Davis said. “The council members understand the need for better investment, higher investment. It’s one of those things right now where we have to put up or shut up.”

But Mueller said there has been lots of public input — the city received 807 responses to its budget survey and held multiple public meetings.

“This budget is the community’s budget,” Mueller said. “This is the most feedback we’ve ever gotten in a budget process.”

He also said delaying the budget would delay progress.

“The biggest barrier to us moving forward right now isn’t budget expenditures, but how we take this historic investment and make it into a reality,” Mueller said.

As an example, he pointed to 466 Works. The community development corporation has built and sold eight houses and is currently building several more with some of the work being done by students from Riley High School’s Construction Technology program.

“We had funding dedicated for a couple of years, but it takes some time to actually get things in place and get the houses built,” Mueller said. “We need to move on as quickly as possible on how we actually get these dollars into the community and transform our neighborhoods.”

The Common Council is set to vote on the budget this evening. The meeting starts at 7 p.m., and you can attend virtually here or in-person by going to the fourth floor of the County-City building.

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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