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Community, officials talk 2018 South Bend budget

South Bend officials are including community voices in the city’s budget conversations.

Monday, officials held a public input session at Ivy Tech Community College before they start the 2018 budget.

“I had just a couple little complaints and I’m sure they’re going to be heard,” said resident Penny Hughes.

Complaints, concerns and comments were heard during several roundtable discussions Monday night.

“There’s a finite amount of funds, we need to know where that should be spent and if people don’t give us feedback before the budget starts it gets really hard to change things as it goes on,” said city controller Jennifer Hockenhull.

The city learned that lesson a year ago.

City officials brought folks in the community to the conversation after the 2016 budget was created.

This time all folks have a seat at the table, nearly four months before the city will present a draft.

“I hope to see more people come out to hear what our city faces” taxpayer Tony Flora. “I am concerned with the reality of diminishing revenue for the city of South Bend.”

A potential economic slowdown, courtesy of the circuit breaker law was implemented by state lawmakers in 2008.

Those caps on property taxes will tighten the budget but some want to make sure community resources won’t get squeezed out.

“I’m trying to tell them to fund all the things that actually matter,” said IUSB student E-Lexus Thorton. “That’s why I came to say that our taxes should be going toward something that matters, the future, the education, and help.”

The next meeting will be held in August.

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