Mayor Mueller presents financial forecast for South Bend

NOW: Mayor Mueller presents financial forecast for South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Mayor James Mueller gave an update on the city's finances during this evening's Common Council meeting. 

While the meeting itself was closed to the public, Mayor Mueller led a presentation over Microsoft Teams, and reassured the public that the city is growing in the right direction. 

“I’m not trying to get math on Valentine’s Day, but, just very basic here, it’s good," Mayor Mueller told the council. "Your debt is staying the same and the population has been increasing so that number has been dropping as well.”

For the most part, the news of how the city has fared after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic has been good. Overall, population has increased, along with the median household income, and the city poverty rate has decreased-- continuing a downward trend since 2015. 

According to Mueller, these trends mean the city's debt per capita is shrinking. 

The city also saw an increase in property tax revenue, and while they anticipated a significant drop in income tax revenue, the drop was not severe, though they are anticipating a continued downturn in 2022. 

“We always knew this would be the year where the lag in income taxes was going to hit us the most," Mueller said. "That’s what we projected in the budget.”

Mueller then shared plans for 2022, with a wide variety of programs and city improvements that he hopes to make for the city, including better street lights, a revised housing program, updates to water and sewer systems, street upgrades and more.

Though, Mueller warns that with rising inflation and interest rates, some of these plans may have to be put on hold, but he spoke on the necessity to invest in programs that only add to a city's value. 

“The more we invest in things that last longer, it makes sense," he said. "Whether we’re investing in buildings, streets, sewers, and things that have longer life spans compared to our normal expenses like police vehicles and other things, that useful life will tick up.”

Mueller said that South Bend residents will get a better idea of what these future plans will look like at his upcoming State of the City Address, on April 26.

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