Budget building process starts in South Bend with council discussion

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 10:54 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The first look at what the South Bend budget could be in 2023 was presented Wednesday night.

Mayor James Mueller presented his overview of next year’s spending as the budget-building process begins.

The City of South Bend projects to spend nearly $19 million more than it plans to bring in for 2023.

Most of this is driven by a $13 million surplus in the general operating fund for the city, accounting for a mix of one-time expenditures and rising fuel costs.

However, Mayor Mueller pointed out that a projected deficit this early in the process doesn’t mean that’s what will happen in reality.

“The past couple of years we’ve had a budget deficit in the general plus funds and we’ve actually never had a deficit the last couple of years. We’ve actually had surpluses in actual revenue versus expenditures. So when we present a budgeted deficit, it doesn’t mean we’ll realize that deficit,” Mueller said.

One of the biggest spending increases comes with nearly 40 million more dollars going to strategic planning for long-term wastewater and treatment projects.

“Those are large projects that will take multiple years to complete but we do budget for the entirety of that project up front and know that the money will be spent in the next three or four years,” said South Bend City Comptroller Dan Parker.

The city is paying for those projects with bonds that reflect the biggest revenue increase for this year of nearly $50 million.

Mayor Mueller says his strategic priorities haven’t changed since last year. He’s still committed to emphasizing strong neighborhoods, safe communities for everyone, robust sustainable infrastructure, equitable access to opportunity, and youth and workforce development.

The city is bringing its Build the Budget initiative back for the second year in a row to try and get residents’ opinions involved in the budget process.

All information about Build the Budget, including upcoming meetings and a link to the budget survey can be found at the city’s website.

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