Merging of South Bend Code Enforcement, Building Department debated

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

SOUTH BEND, Ind. The potential merger of South Bend's code enforcement and building departments came up again, after a handful of code enforcement employees were laid off in January.

The shrinking department surprised many council members who voted against the merger.

On Wednesday night, reps from code enforcement said everything they're doing is to maximize efficiency.

Several council members worry a merger would stretch resources too thin, and force city employees to cover the building department's work in St. Joseph County.

The administration already merged the funding for the departments, based on provisions in the budget.

“It should have been a blocking of the merger all the way down, the action and the funding, and that was not done,” said Council President Oliver Davis. “Therefore the merger of the funding has already taken place. So like we said today, you're getting rid of everything in the house and keeping up the structure.”

Department of Code Enforcement Director Shubhada Kambli also commented.

“From my perspective I have a job to do. I have to create the greatest efficiency and the greatest impact possible, positive impact, within the budget.”

The Council hopes to get a clearer picture of how resources would be used if a merger were to take place.

The Building Department is an "enterprise" entity and doesn't function off tax dollars, instead, the department is funded by fees.

Henry Davis, Jr. expressed some concern over the direction the code enforcement is heading, saying the Common Council isn't being informed in a timely manner of some of the changes.

He was talking about the layoffs that were taking place. Davis asked how the layoffs were going to effect inspections in certain areas in the city.

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