Mishawaka Mayor delivers State of the City address
MISHAWAKA, Ind. —- Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood gave his ninth State of the City address on Monday.
Mayor Wood told a crowd inside the Battell Community Center that the Princess City continues to be strong, growing, financially stable and safe.
He started his address by touting the success of the 2018 Habitat for Humanity Carter Work Build.
“In one week and over a year of planning, we built a better community,” Mayor wood said.
The theme of the 2019 address was ‘building a better community.’ Mayor Wood said law and order is a cornerstone in building that community.
According to FBI data, crimes like robbery and assault decreased between 2017 and 2018. However, homicide increased from only a couple in 2017 to five homicides in 2018.
Breana Rouhselang, 17, was pregnant when her boyfriend allegedly murdered her in Mishawaka last December. Mayor Wood called the murder ‘unfathomable and horrific.’
“Our hearts and our prayers continue to go to the family of Breana Rouhselang,” he said.
City data shows the city of Mishawaka lost $5.4 million in property taxes in 2018. The mayor on Monday was critical of the reliance of local governments in St. Joseph County on this money ahead of the 2020 fiscal cliff.
“The current financial model that is funding local government in St. Joseph County is broken,” Mayor Wood said.
Mishawaka has received criticism from surrounding communities for allegedly avoiding issues like the opioid epidemic and homelessness. Mayor Wood did not mention either topic in his address Monday night.
ABC 57 News asked Mayor Wood about the two issues and criticism the city has faced. He said the city does have partnerships with experts in the community.
“Local governments don’t run homeless centers or shelters,” Mayor Wood said. “They just don’t.”
He said the city has not been approached by anybody to set up a homeless center in Mishawaka. He said the city would be open to entertaining the opportunity.
Across St. Joseph County, there were 59 overdose deaths in 2019. Mayor Wood said the numbers are decreasing.
“That’s what we’re hearing from our frontline,” Mayor Wood said. “That’s our public responders and so you know that’s encouraging.”
Since Mayor Wood took office in 2010, city data shows construction value has increased. The total estimated construction cost in 2018 reached $158 million. This was a 16 percent increase from 2017.