Mayor Pete Buttigieg delievers annual address to Common Council

SOUTH BEND, IN. (WNDU) - At Monday night's Common Council meeting, Mayor Pete Buttigieg presented his annual address on his initiatives but also the financial state of the city.

To make it simple, things are looking up.

“One is we're budgeting pretty carefully to make sure we're only spending money that needs to be spent,” Buttigieg said. “Two, that even within our budget, we try to come in a little bit under with the expenditures so there's a little bit of extra cushion. That's allowed the city to build up healthy cash reserve.”

Last year, the city netted more than $20 million in profit. That's significant improvement over five years; in 2014, the city had a net loss of $7 million.

“The message of tonight is in order to keep it that way, we'll have to keep making difficult choices,” Buttigieg said. “A mix of investments in the future and taking care not to spend more than we need to.”

Part of that is due to a strong bond rating.

The city of South Bend has an AA bond rating, which allows the city to obtain better interest rates.

“Well, the best way to think of it is it's kind of like your credit score,” Buttigieg said. “So, if we think of those bond ratings as the city's credit score, we have one of the best credit scores in the state.”

The city is preparing for the 2020 fiscal curb, when property taxes will fall by more than $2 million.

“Bottom line is we have enough cash to fund our operations and enough held in reserve to get us through tough times,” Buttigieg said. “That's one of the reasons why the bond ratings have such high valuation in the city's debt.”

The mayor also expects a strong payoff for so many of its investments.

By the end of 2019, 85 percent of the Venues, Parks and Arts department's My SB Parks and Trails projects will be completed and underway.