Davis explains why he tabled department merger debate

By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email

SOUTH BEND This October, South Bend's Common Council will negotiate a budget for the new fiscal year. Mayor Pete Buttigieg has asked the council to consider combining the building and code departments, which will save the city money, but cost workers their jobs.

The council tabled discussion on the proposal in a September 23rd meeting. 2nd district Councilman Henry Davis, Jr., who made the motion to table it, says they did not have enough information or time to bring it a vote before the budget debate.

“We didn’t want to be backed into a corner to make a decision that we might regret later,” he says. “We just didn’t get what we needed.”

He also cites complaints from constituents who say building and code department requests are already slow, so he questions the wisdom of reducing the staff further.

The city is also working to clean up vacant and abandoned housing. Davis says he’s concerned about a pure demolition strategy, adding “we don’t want to add more blight to the blighted.”

He says it’s important to ensure new development in these areas before creating destruction.

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