South Bend is holding a series of public meetings to plan the city’s 2022 budget, and there’s an extra focus on the nearly $59 million in federal dollars the city is getting from the American Rescue Plan Act.
The extra money is about one sixth of the city’s overall annual budget of nearly $350 million, and the city is holding three special public meetings on how to spend it:
- 6 p.m., August 5 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center
- 6 p.m., August 12 at Pinhook Park Community Center
- 6 p.m., August 17 at the Howard Park Event Center.
The three special meetings are in addition to the eight normal public budget meetings.
Mayor James Mueller said this budget season, the city is doing more public engagement than ever before, and that the extra federal money is a once in a generation opportunity.
“This kind of funding doesn’t come around very often,” Mueller said. “We want to make sure it’s invested strategically and has the biggest impact for our residents.”
Mueller’s budget priorities include public safety, infrastructure — including investments in utilities and drinking water — housing and the city’s Rebuilding Our Streets plan, where the city wants to spend $25 million over a three year period.
In addition to the public meetings, you can send feedback by filling out the city’s online 2022 budget survey or by calling 311, pressing 9 and leaving a voicemail message. Chief Innovation Officer Denise Linn Riedl said the city will also be at Best Week Ever in early August.
“We’ll have tables set up with budget games and activities,” Riedl said. “Residents will be able to learn more about the budget, literally build a budget and engage more with city staff.”
The normal budget timeline starts in mid August and runs through September, and the Common Council passes the budget in October.
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