(28 Areas Covered on where your tax dollars are being spent)
** WASTEWATER CAPITAL PROJECTS **
$6,332,400 of Electrical Improvements
$800,000 Digester Gas Utilization (to be bid)
$500,000 Ameritech-Parkland Lift Station Upgrade (to be bid)
$110,000 Wastewater Treatment Plant Riverbank Stabilization
$2,200,000 for Douglas Road Life Station Relocation (to be bid)
** CURB & SIDEWALK REIMBURSEMENT **
$150,000 to match part of what homeowners are expected to pay for curbs and sidewalks
NOTE: $150,000 - Council Members claim to be assisting neighborhoods.
They have no problem voting for over $5,000,000 to $500K Condos and a $1.5M Penthouse for the Cascades.
FYI, $5,000,000 could also have resurfaced 50 lane miles of roads.
FYI, $5,000,000 could give 6 miles of sidewalks, 7,890 feet of curbs and 390 curb ramps
** STREETS: LASALLE & MARQUETTE **
INDOT LPA Project (80/20 funding)
This means INDOT is paying 80% of this and the City is paying the other 20%
$1,589,000 for 2 miles of sidewalks, 2,630 feet of curbs, 130 Curb Ramps
** CURB & SIDEWALK PROGRAM **
$500,000 for curb, sidewalks, ramps, tree replacement around the City
(Council Members can pick the areas)
NOTE: These 3 programs amount to $2,239,000
** COMMUNITY INVESTMENT **
$5,000,000 for "The Cascades"Architectural Elements
(Not sure if this is in addition to the $5M they already got)
$200,000 Main & Jefferson Earthwork Retention
$5,000,000 Commerce Center Pre-cast Panels
$1,300,000 Tech Resource Center (Catalyst II)
$400,000 Drewry's Debris Cleanup
$100,000 More House Demolitions
$1,000,000 Gemini - Masonry, Stair and Site Improvements
$1,500,000 Lafayette Building Improvements
$1,000,000 Liberty Tower Masonry Repair, Storefront Glasswork, Site Work
(Above and beyond what they have already received)
$500,000 Main Street/Wayne Street Garage Improvements
$75,000 Unity Gardens Site Improvement
$4,000,000 St. Joseph County Library
(Community Investment will cover this until the City has the funds)
** WATER CAPITAL FUNDED by RWDA/SSDA TIF **
$630,000 Edison Filtration Plant Roof Repair (to be bid)
$1,000,000 Olive GAC Plant Improvements (to be bid)
$233,000 Cleveland Well Improvements Construction (to be bid)
$2,347,000 South Well Field Improvements (to be bid)
$800,000 SR 23 from US 20 to Mayflower - New Main (to be bid)
$400,000 Water Main, Hydrant, Valve Replacement
$1,500,000 Pinhook Water Treatment Plant Upgrades
$950,000 North Station Treatment Upgrade
$616,000 Fellows Reservoir and Booster Station
$55,000 Ireland Tank and Booster Station
** VPA - VENUE PARKS AND ARTS **
Howard Park Reconstruction
West Bank Trail Improvements
Seitz Park Reconstruction, Phases 1 & 2
Leeper Park Improvements (to be bid)
Pulaski Park Improvements
VPA Athletic Courts
Muessel Grove Restroom
Century Center Upgrades
** FIRE DEPARTMENT **
Station 9 - Completion June 2019
Fire Training Center - Completion August 2019
Station #3 and #6 to accomodate women firefighters
** LIGHT UP SOUTH BEND **
$200,000 (to be bid)
Partnering with I&M Power to install additional street lights
Lamppost program to install solar street lights
Logan - Mishawaka Ave - 30th Street Railroad Tracks
Lincolnway West - Williams - Colfax - LaPorte - Blaine (to be bid)
** TRAFFIC CALMING **
$250,000 plus grants (to be bid)
** SEWER & MANHOLE LINING **
$3,125,000 CSO 018 72" Sewer and other locations (to be bid)
** IRONWOOD & MISHAWAKA SIGNAL IMPROVEMENTS **
$171,285.37 for Emergency Vehicle Signal Pre-emption at
20th & Mishawaka Ave and Ironwood & Mishwaka Ave
Completion August 2019
** US 20 SANITARY SEWER EXTENSION **
$766,957 for 4,397 LFT of 12" diameter sewer main, 12 48" Manholes,
Connect Terre Verde Hills and to accomodate the new Chocolate Cafe location
** SMALL DRAINAGE PROJECTS **
$24,765 Lathrop between Riverside Drive and Parkview Place May 2019
$312,596 Olivia Circle, Hawbaker Street, Creekwater
$240,000 Overlook Court, Laurel Woods, East Bank Trail
** WEST SIDE QUIET ZONE **
$350,000 Silence train horns, pavement markings, signage, channelization
** COMMUNITY CROSSING PROJECT (INDOT) **
$1,200,000 50/50 matching funding (to be bid)
HMA Overlay, pavement grooving and thermoplastic pavement installation for 4 streets
** MICHIGAN STREET PAVING **
$1,800,000 Western to Colfax Ave (to be bid)
** TRAFFIC SIGNL INVENTORY **
$93,560 to do a light inventory, review timing and suggest improvements
** EWING & FELLOWS TRAFFIC SIGNAL **
** BENDIX DRIVE RECONSTRUCTION **
$2,000,000 INDOT LPA 80/20 Funding for new 3 lane concrete
Reconfiguration of Nimtz Parkway and Boland Drive
** WESTERN AVENUE CORRIDOR **
$2,724,000 for Streetscape, new water main, sewer separation, concrete overlay
** SCHOOL ZONE FLASHING BEACONS **
$100,000 INDOT 90/10 funding
** RIVERBANK STABILIZATION **
$45,000 near Yukon and Riverside Drive
** LINCOLNWAY EAST CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENTS **
$1,455,000 for a Bike Trail
** COAL LINE TRAIL BIKE TRAIL **
$2,870,000 Phase One
$4,360,000 Phase Two
** Morris Theatre Plaster Repair **
Ceilings were damaged when a beam was installed for $268,044.74
for the Phantom of the Opera Show to hold a 1,000 pound chandelier
This was project #117-034 June 22, 2017, as an "Emergency Procurement"
This is normally defined as, "Emergency Contract means a contract that
is awarded on an emergency basis due to a threat of harm to person
or property or threat of disruption of governmental services."
The beam for a Musical is an "Emergency" at over $268K. It will
now cost even more for the taxpayers to repair the damage caused by it.
For more articles and meetings: #MichianaObserver #CivicMedia
IUSB April 10th
Comment highlights from the panel:
John R. Gallagher, PhD – Addictions Therapist with Oaklawn Psychiatric Center and Bashor Children’sHome said there are five useful interventions now:
1. Recovery Coaches at Beacon Memorial Hospital
2. Vivitrol being used in the jails
3. Methadone treatments
4. Narcan distributed to libraries, stores and other community locations
5. Harm reduction recovery groups at Oaklawn
By shifting how we view addiction we can be “compassionate on crime”. By showing kindness they can reach out for help. They still need to be held accountable. He says Judge Jane Woodward Miller holds them accountable with weekly follow-up meetings.
Alicia Brown – Recovering addict and founder of “Fresh Attitudes for New Success” (FANS) says she began her addiction journey with a pain Rx and wishes her family had shown her tough love much earlier.
Ken Cotter – St. Joseph County Prosecutor says, “We can’t arrest our way out of this problem.” He prefers pre-trial diversion programs that move people towards recovery resources first. People need honesty, tenacity and compassion to get past their addictions. He says in past years there have been 58 – 60 overdose deaths a year and so far only two in 2019. He says 85% of property crimes are committed by those who are addicted trying to support their habit. He stated those who started with a prescription then moved onto heroin, fentanyl and methanphetomines.
Kelley Gaffney – Lead research coordinator for Indiana’s “Don’t Punish Pain” organization. She was a Research, Data and Crime analyst for the Hudson Institute and works with the Indianapolis Police Department. She says there are 100 million chronic pain sufferers in the US and suicides are up for those who genuinely need the medication and can’t get it. 23% of those with chronic pain rely on prescription opioids for pain control. There have been three rallies for this in Indiana and the next one is on May 4th at the State House. Doctors have become unwilling to prescribe even when patients are in need due to the backlash. Patients in genuine need may be unfairly added to the Indiana Inspect reporting system. What has helped is for those taking opioids for chronic pain have “pain contracts” with their doctors about their use and monitoring. Those with chronic pain have a human rights issue.
William (Bill) Horton – Division Manager for the St. Joseph County Department of Child Services and IUSB Social Work Instructor at IUSB, says children are the collateral damage of this drug abuse and it puts a strain on local families.
Brooke Marshall, LSW, MATS – Addiction Therapist at Oaklawn Psychiatric Center and team leader for the St. Joseph County Jail Mental Health and Addiction Services says they are working well with their community partners and with using Vivitrol as a treatment. Peer recovery is working well. Unfortunately, she says, people are not as motivated until they are arrested.
Rodger Pinto – Former Paratrouper and SPEA student says how Veterans are treated for pain while on active duty is different than after they are discharged. Issues include getting double prescriptions and not having adequate services to manage pain and drug use after they leave Active status. In 2017 they started to monitor and crackdown on people receiving double prescriptions. Currently 25% of active Veterans are given opioids to deal with pain.
Dr. Rachel Schuster, DO – Works with Residents at Beacon Memorial on how to properly treat pain and opioid disorders. They currently are treating 350 patients in the Beacon Memorial Program and says the Behavior Medicine Team is making progress in the community.
Robin Vida – Director of Health Education for the St. Joseph County Health Department coordinates community resources for those needing treatment and professionals looking for treatment options for their patients. She mentioned that once someone receives Narcan they are 4 times more likely to overdose in the next 24 hours, so they should seek follow-up treatment at a hospital. She recommends the resources on their website: http://www.sjchd.org/health-education/
The number one need in the community is in-patient services. There is “Choices Recovery” on Foundations Drive, but it is private insurance, which many people don’t have access to when addicted.
Dr. Elizabeth Bennion was the Event Moderator
Some of the tables at the event included:
US Addiction Services: 574-401-5757
Clean Slate: 574-218-7131
Oxford House: 301-587-2916
The Partnership: 574-234-6024
Talk They Hear You: www. Underagedrinking. samhsa .gov
Narcotics Anonymous: 888-467-3527
The Road Home: 574-261-9895
Don’t Punish Pain: www. dontpunishpainrally .com
Indiana Child Protective Services: 888-631-9510
* St. Joseph County has over 120,000 property parcels, making it the 5th largest after Marion, Lake, Allen and Hamilton counties.
* There are 13 Townships in St. Joseph County. 12 are under the County Assessor. Penn Township has a separate elected one.
* The three components to a property assessment are: Land, Improvements and Adjustments to the Market Value. All assessments are calculated and regulated following State of Indiana statistical guidelines and must comply with State "Ratio Studies" that follow the market trends. All Assessors in Indiana are required to use the state-mandated procedure. A link to the detailed state guidelines is provided at the end of this article.
* Assessments will vary based on the property use: Investment Property, Rental Property, Commercial Property, and Owner Occupied Property. Any time there is a change in the use, ie. Owner Occupied to Rental Property, the assessment values may change.
* Other assessment determinations are by Real Estate, Self-reporting Personal Property Tax of a business, and Mobile Homes.
* New Construction is evaluated as it progresses. The tax determination is for what is done on January 1st of each year.
* After assessments are done, a “Form 11” is mailed to each property owner showing their gross assessed value and any change from the previous year.
* The owner then has 45 days to initiate an appeal, which can be filed either in writing or online.
* If Citizens have questions about appeals, extended office hours are held during the 45 day appeal period so people can easily get their questions answered and receive any help they may need.
* On average only about 3% of property owners appeal their assessments each year.
* When people pay their property taxes, it is for the PREVIOUS YEAR. (Example: “Assess 2018, Pay 2019.”)
Qualifications of the St. Joseph County Assessor, Rosemary Mandrici:
+ Level 3 State Certified Assessor
+ 35 years of assessing experience
+ Graduate of St. Mary's College
+ Board member of the Indiana County Assessor Association
+ Former NW District President
DUTIES OF THE ASSESSOR, THE AUDITOR, THE TREASURER AND THE COMMISSIONERS:
ASSESSOR: Places the gross assessed value on properties using the "mass appraisal approach" and using the “cost system” as a base. These cost tables are set by the State of Indiana.
AUDITOR: Determines the tax rates - Calculates the TS1 qualification of tax level percentages, taxes owed, records Abatements voted on by the Councils, applies tax exempt statuses, deductions like "Homeowners" and "Senior", notes TIF designations
TREASURER: Sends out the property tax invoices, collects taxes, holds an annual property tax lien sale once a year, keeps track of property liens and interest owed to investors. At any given time there are over 2,000 properties in St. Joseph County that have property tax liens. Many of those properties are purchased by people outside of Michiana wanting to collect a 10% interest when the owner pays their delinquent fee to get back the property. Rather than actually owning the property, these investors are just wanting a 10% return on their money which means they have no desire to maintain or develop it. This causes issues for code enforcement. Some parcels are too small for a full development, but might be successful as lots for tiny homes.
COMMISSIONER PROPERTY SALE: After the holding period on a tax lien property has expired and there are no buyers for the property, the Commissioner can sell the property outright where the sale is final and the title change is immediate.
CODE ENFORCEMENT: Write up violations, collect fines and cleanup properties
DATA ON PROPERTIES:
* Property Cards - These are updated once a year with the new value of the property
* The Treasurer bought software that links the Property Cards with the up-to-date tax owed and the exemptions assigned by the Auditor.
* MACOG has created useful maps to display property data
LINKS SO YOU CAN DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH:
ASSESSOR: Rosemary Mandrici - https://www.sjcindiana.com/173/Assessor
AUDITOR: Michael J. Hamman - https://www.sjcindiana.com/176/Auditor
TREASURER: Michael J. Kruk - https://www.sjcindiana.com/386/Treasurer
STATE OF INDIANA DEPT of LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE: https://www.in.gov/dlgf/
ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES - https://www.in.gov/dlgf/2489.htm
St. JOSEPH COUNTY ADDITIONAL INFO:
PROPERTY CARD SEARCH:
EXTRACT DATA: https://www.sjcindiana.com/1443/Data-Extract-Search-Information
MACOG MAPS: (Takes awhile to load so be patient. Not advisable on a phone.)
For more articles and meetings: #MichianaObserver #CivicMedia
#59-18 -> 1405 & 1505 East Howard Street - Century Builders wants to change this from "Single Family Dwelling" to "Multiple Family Dwelling". The back of these properties is adjacent to Frederickson Park. This is extrememly dense housing with 17 units on these two lots. They have trapped and removed amimals from the property. Area Plan supports this project.
#67-18 -> Removing Certain Restrictions on Tattoo Businesses - Sections 13-126 and 13-127 of Chapter 13, Article 11 - It will allow someone with a felony or who has drug/alcohol violations to do Tattoos.
VOTES: Unanimously in FAVOR
#68-18 -> Approving Update to ADA Transition Plan of 2013 (Ord # 10219-13), Title VI Plan covers Environmental Justice under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Exhibit A, Pages 3 through 10 City Attorney Aladean DeRose outlined the City's efforts to come into compliance as funds become available.
Those with Disabilities can get special on street parking and get a waiver from shoveling snow. Volunteers are offering to assist those unable to shovel it.
NOTE: Roundabouts have no way of completely stopping traffic, so those who need extra time to cross may not always be able to do so safely. Those with disabilities and children cannot be seen well in advance to slow down to allow safe passage.
These are especially critical near the hospital and elementary school. Even with ground lighting (which is covered with snow) and flashing lights, there are only a few seconds for a driver to see them and react, especially with the high brick wall in the center. The roundabout by the hospital has over 25K cars per day.
#18-73 -> Special Zoning Exception for 1718 S. Marine Street - BH Investments wants to make this a two family dwelling.
NOTE: This item was removed by the petitioner.
#61-18 -> Article 14 - Establishing Interim Storm Water Utility Rates - Fund 667 (Storm Sewer Fund) has been created. They want to start billing June 2019. The fee adds $24 per year to residential water bills, and $60 per year for businesses. This will be in effect for at least two years and will be available for increases although it can be increased any time the Council determines more money is needed. This means adding liens to properties.
There will be late payment penalties per Ind Code 8-1.5-5-29, 8-1.5-5-30 at a rate of 10%. "If penalties are not paid when due, they shall be collected in the same manner that other delinquent fees and penalties are charged and assessed consistent with Indiana Law." (This means adding leans to properties.) There is already a strain on many trying to pay other utilities. This will raise the rent since landlords are responsible for paying the water bills first and then collecting them from their tennants.
This will bring in approximately $1.2M a year, but a $600K software upgrade will be necessary to handle these new fee charges on the water bills. (Eric Horvath, Public Works Director)
This software was approved last year for the 2019 budget and will not be ready until June 2019.
"Life Line Rates" will be available for those who meet income guidelines. Seniors not making over a certain amount may also receive the lower rates.
This will raise the rent since landlords are responsible for paying the water bills first and then collecting them from their tennants tenants.
Before the Vote, Oliver Davis suggested a motion to defeat, but there was no second. Regina Williams-Preston moved to vote on it later in May (after the Primary Election).
VOTES: Tim Scott, John Voorde, Jake Teshka, Gavin Ferlic and Jo Broden voted in FAVOR of it so it passed. Oliver Davis, Regina Williams-Preston, Sharon McBride and Karen White voted AGAINST it.
NOTE: CSO (Combined Sewer Overflow) funding has been a concern for over a decade. It needs to be adequatedly funded. TIF Funding could have been applied since funding infrastructure is the main reason TIF was created.
$150M has already been spent on CSO according to Eric Horvath, Public Works Director.
Free downspout disconnection ended on Dec 31, 2018. There was $100K in the budget to help homeowners with this, but $130K is needed. It is $65 per disconnect and this is done by an outside vendor. Those who find the cost prohibitive, may be granted a waiver.
** SUMMARY OF STORMWATER PRESENTATION MADE TO COUNCIL ON NOV 26, 2018 **
Aging infrastructure stressors - Flooding, pressure on sanitary / combined sewers, new sewers needed, failing sewer lines, MS-4 Compliance
The Storm Sewer System - Includes sewers, storm inlets, catch basins, manholes, curbs, gutters, ditches, swales, retention ponds and dams
Suggested Storm Utility Fee - $2 / month for residences and $5 / Month for non-residential Customers, Exempt properties are unimproved lots and public right-of-way
National Average for residential is $5 / month Source: 2016 Stormwater Utility Survey: A Black and Veatch Report
Fees needed for - Regulatory compliance, flood control, community expectations, safety and reliability, critical emergency resiliance, waterway & habitat restoration, grants and incentives
2019 STORMWATER NEEDS:
Professional Services - Riverbank Stabilization = $200K, Downspout Disconnection Plan = $100K (Now expected to be an additional $30K)
Capital Improvement Projects - Drainage Projects = $800K, Riverbank Stabilization = $150K, South Bend Dam = $500K, Flood Mitigation = $500K, Western Ave Phase 3 Storm Sewer = $400K, Michigan Street Separation = $250K
Operations & Maintenance - To be determined
Total Expenses = $2,900,000
2019 PROPOSED BUDGET:
Professional Services = $200K
Capital Improvement Projects = $350K, South Bend Dam = $150K, Flood Mitigation = $100K, Storm Sewer Separations $400K
Operations & Maintenanace - To be determined
Total Expenses = $1,200,000
Downspout Disconnection - Dec. 2018 = 2K downspouts x $65 each, Drainage improvements = $180K, Western Ave Phase 3 = $280K, St. Joseph River Bank = $40K
TOTAL EXPENSES: $600K
"Due to extraordinary estimated costs to implement the LTCP (Long Term Control Plan) mandated by the EPA and teh IDEM, all buildings, residences, sump pumps and parking lots which currently direct their storm water into the sanitary of combined sewers shall disconnect by December 31, 2020."
Project Locations include: St. Joseph River Bank, Bendix Road & Ford Street Inlets, Laurel Woods Subdivision (Lindenwood), Poland Street Mill & Fill Repairs, Miami (Ridgedale to Chippewa) Curb installation, Royal Oaks & other Basin Dredging, Locust Road & Huey Street, Western Avenue & Brookfield Street, Bryan Street Mill & Fill, Oliver Circle, etc.
Western Ave Phase 3 will be from Falcon Street to Dundee Street will include a new storm sewer to separate from sanitary sewers.
IDNR LARE Grant was received to repair the river bank from Yukon Street and Riverside Drive.
2020 Project List - Misc Drainage Repairs, Trail under Colfax Bridge at East Race, West Race Maintenance, Fish Ladder, Hydro, Dam & River (DSSMR), East Race Maintenance, West Abutment Repairs, Downstream Channel, Right Bank Painting, Upstream Dam Buoy Replacements, River Bank Stabilization Northshore & Iroquis = $1,190,000
INCOME THIS NEW INCREASE WILL BRING IN:
415,250 Homes x $2/month = $830,000
40,732 Businesses x $5/month = $203,660
ESTIMATED REVENUE = $1,034,160
SOURCE: Department of Public Works, City of South Bend
#19-02 -> Resolution calling for the enactment of legistration to address Hate Crimes was sponsored by Jo Broden and John Voorde. Indiana is one of only five states that does not have a hate crime. A group plans to go to the lobbying in Indianapolis.
NOTE: These types of Resolutions are not legally binding. They are a suggestion.
#01-19 -> Vacation of an alley 130' from Bryan Street
#02-19 -> Amending the Property at 2307 Edison Road
#03-19 -> Amending Chapter 6 of the Municipal code adding Article 14, "Rental Verification Program"
NOTE: There will be a public meeting about this on 1/30/19 with the Health & Public Safety Meeting. There was a meeting held at the LaSalle Library on Tuesday, Jan 15 at 6pm, by the Community Forum for Economic Justice to discuss this issue further.
#19-01 -> Zoning Appeal for 3602 W. Sample Street
NEW BUSINESS: Oliver Davis wants an update on where the CSO (Combined Sewer Overflow) Project is currently.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR:
Jennifer Robinson - She noted the "Base Delivery Rate" for water/sewer in South Bend is higher than some of the surrounding communities.
Chicago is $29.49 / month
Niles is $12.30 / month
Buchanan is $26.08 / month
Osceola is $ 32.00 / month
Mishawaka is $6.83 / month
Sharon Banicki - She noted this is one of many rate hikes the Council continues to approve.
In 2014, sewer rates increased 5% for the next 3 years.
In 2015, they asked for a trash rate increase.
On 1/1/16 there was a $1 increase on trash.
on 1/1/17 there was another $1 increase.
In 2017, $6.40 more a month for water.
On March 7, 2018, there was a 42% increase in water rates for a $4.74 monthly increase.
"So between trash, water and sewer $12 per month ($144 a year) increase and now there will be an additional $2 per month ($24 a year) added to that."
Sue Kesim - Over $150M has been spent on CSO. Why didn't this solve some of the sewer issues already?
TIF was originally intended to fund infrastructure like sewers. TIF monies need to fund infrastructure for the community FIRST.
43% of our South Bend residents are considered "Struggling" in terms of income, so added fees only adds to their financial stress.
Consider how long someone at minimum wage or waiting tables has to work to make that extra $24.
The Mayor and Council need to put CITIZENS FIRST as a funding priority.
Jason Banicki-Critchlow - (Paraphrased) The City needs better spending priorities. The City continues to selectively raise the salaries of select employees while continuing to raise fees on the average person.
For more articles and meetings: #MichianaObserver #CivicMedia
November 19, 2018, 5pm, O'Brien Center
They showed nice pictures of the Charles Black Community Center Opening and were pleased with the huge turnout.
The $650K "VPA in Motion" mobile recreation vehicle is being made in North Carolina and should be arriving in late January or February.
(Elkhart makes a lot of custom mobile recreational vehicles.)
They are looking at more events they can hold at night in the parks.
In honor of Veteran's Day they showed Mr. Maurice Scott and Mr. Robert Frame and their military contributions.
They ask that people donate by buying "Bricks" for the park walks. They can do this through the website.
Since they didn't have a quorum, they couldn't vote on anything. He suggested they make a lot of the items so they could be by "Administrative Approval" and not have to go through the Board.
Aaron Perri mentioned he wants a Deputy Director position created. He wants the person to focus on fundraising. He explained they have money from the bonds to use for the next two years, but after that they are going to need to do fundraising.
He was pleased they got $100K grant from the Community Foundation.
They will not be doing ribbon cuttings until the Spring when the weather is better.
* There was an update about the Bowman Creek Project
* Citizen wanted to know about the hockey rink size becoming regulation size. Aaron responded it would take too much to add scoreboards, lockers, etc. He said people should bug Mishawaka Parks about doing theirs. He says there are too many other places to play hockey. They will be open to hosting workshops for young kids to learn on the ice and have a friendly pickup game.
Sue Kesim suggested:
* Purchasing flowers from the local greenhouse on Western owned by a family. He responded they could buy maybe a few to use on Western from Martin's Greenhouse.
* For arborists to get their annual renewal they be required to take a half day class about invasive trees and bushes, the latest bug infestations, soil conservation, volcano mulching, tree topping, etc. She suggested Phil Sutton, who is retired from the Purdue Extension, could teach the workshop and they could have the Soil and Water Conservation District give part of it. She further suggested this be included in the new tree ordinance they are working on.
* Use "Steppable Plants" between stones on paths and labyrinths for easy maintenance.
* Build in Sharps Disposal containers into the park bathrooms.
* Collect and recycle plastic bottle caps into park benches and tables for a WIN-WIN. She gave them the website address. It only costs $300 to make a bench out of the caps and they pay far more for benches now. www.greentreeplastics.com/benches/
For more articles and meetings: #MichianaObserver #CivicMedia @MichianaObserver
TOPICS: Water Rescue, Homeless Shelter, Ethanol Plant, Lead Hazard, Library Plans, Hydro Electric Dam, Code Enforcement/ Racial Divide, Dog Park Opening
RESOLUTION #20-18 Honoring the Local Water Rescue Team
The local members of the MABAS Division 201 Technical Rescue Team assisted in the N. Carolina Hurricane Florence water rescues. They did 116 Water Rescues for people and rescued 20 dogs.
They were specifically requested by N. Carolina since SB is nationally recognized for water rescue training on the East Race. There were multiple cities represented. Thanks for helping our friends in NC! <3
NEW DOG PARK
Wednesday at 10 am the new Dog Park will open at Rum Village.
Bill #18-55 ZONING 1715 & 1717 S. DALE
This is to build a Duplex on this location - Unanimous
Bill #18-56 ZONING FOR HYDRO ELECTRIC DAM
340 E. Colfax Avenue (Seitz Park)
ND will get 8 - 10% of their power from this Hydro Electric Dam and has a lease with the Parks Department for 50 years. In exchange, ND is providing $1M for improvements to Seitz Park.
The use of Hyrdo Electric Dams was first introduced by then State Senator Doug Hunt in the 1980's.
Bill #18-62 CDBG DISASTER RELIEF II FUNDS
Bill #18-63 LEAD HAZARD GRANT
This is available to help 40 homes in South Bend. There is an income qualification and people may apply through the County Health Department. Around 80% of our area homes were built before 1980 so it is estimated around 45,000 housing units may have lead. There are currently 13 applications.
Bill #18-64 7 YEAR TAX ABATEMENT FOR DAIRY QUEEN on 4836 Western Avenue
Ms. Patel, the Developer, owns multiple businesses in the community. This is not a start-up.
Normally tax abatements are not given for Retail according to Councilman Ferlic, but the Council voted Unanimously for this.
$90,881 Tax Abatement was given.
Bill #18-66 SOUTH BEND ETHANOL, LLC TAX ABATEMENT
3201 W. Calvert Street, 5 year. This will create 5 more jobs for 2 years. They are adding boilers, fermentation tanks and centrifuges.
The representative said the project would have gone through with or without this Abatement.
This falls within an "Opportunity Zone" so after 10 years they won't pay any taxes if they sell it.
Councilman Teshka voted against it and the other 8 Council members voted for this.
Personal Property Tax Abatement = $6,630,052
LOIT FUNDS = $33,800
Real Property = $1,630,720
TOTAL TAX ABATEMENT = $8,294,572
TOTAL TAX ABATEMENTS for just this meeting = $8,385,453
TAX ABATEMENTS in 2017 = $36M and 2016 =$25M Since the Mayor took office it is over $100M with Council voting Unanimously for almost all of them the Mayor requested.
Bills #34-18 and #35-18 CHOCOLATE FACTORY
This annexes the land the Chocolate Factory intends to build their new factory and theme park. This falls within an "Opportunity Zone" so after 10 years they won't pay any taxes if they sell it.
Bill #53-18 WINTER AMNESTY LOCATION FOR HOMELESS
121 E. Tutt Street from November 1, 2018 - April 15, 2019 - Passed Unanimously
This building currently has a homeless encampment behind it. It will house approximately 15 women and 40 men, pending approval by the Fire Marshall. Doors are being updated with release bars and fire alarms. Exit signs and other items are being updated to make it acceptable for approval.
The program will be overseen by the Hope Rescue Mission which is nearby. It will be open for sleeping from 8 pm to 8 am. Entrance passes will be obtained at Hope.
It will have restroom facilities, but no showers. This will be a "wet homeless shelter", which means those staying there will not have to be "dry and sober".
The temporary zoning will be brought back to "Light Industrial" in April after the program closes for the season, otherwise the City will pay Matthews, LLC over $4K a month.
Business owners in that area expressed concern. Edward Levy says his tenant wants out of their lease citing security concerns. He asked that the City provide better security for that area.
The Ziker Business Incubator, where "Sew Loved" is located is in the area, as are some factories such as Mossberg Printing. They hope this will not be a permanent location and want tighter security.
It was suggested that the temporary Homeless locations be rotated through all the Districts to be fairly distributed.
Councilman Davis suggested Mishawaka, the County and Townships share some of the financial burden and work on solutions together. He previously suggested a work program for the Homeless that has worked in other communities and the Mayor was not interested in it.
The Directors of the center for the Homeless and Hope Ministries expressed their frustration in working with the City. They have made suggestions the Mayor has not been willing to utilize.
One of the complaints has been the Homeless deficating in public areas and leaving trash. There had been "joy johns" and trash bins, but those got removed.
SUGGESTIONS: Have bathroom stations like they have in NYC that are permanent, stainless steel with running water located throughout the area. Provide lockers so they do not have to push carts around. Have regular trash pickups that have the Homeless participate in. Places to drop sharps. Provide better security and patrols for businesses.
Bill #54-18 ALLEY VACATION
This will close a 132' alley between Madison, Taylor and Williams. The owner bought both properties and now wants to close the alley to expand the backyard and possibly build a garage. Joseph Weatherly was the Petitioner.
Bill #55-18 - POSTPONED
This pertains to costs of holding events. It will Amend Chapter 14 of the City Code, Article 14. The City Attorney says this has been under discussion for six years.
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY PRESENTATION
SJCPL wants to spend $38M renovating the Main Library to:
* Be an Economic Development Agent
* Community Living Room
* Learning Center
* Creative Commons
* Digital Literacy Provider
* Refuge for a Busy Society
* 114K have a library card
* 423K used the WiFi
* 178K computer hours were used
* 1,700 items were checked out
* 287K electronic items were used
* 3,270 groups used the meeting rooms
* 35% of residents use the Main Library
Ms. Deb Futa, the Library Director, explained they want the renovation to host events that have 500 - 700 people and be a "Destination".
Renovation details can be found on the "About" tab of the Library website, along with a the 35 page report. It will build over the parking lot used by employees, thereby reducing parking availability for those living outside the downtown area and attending events.
The Main Library was last renovated in 1989. $15M bond was used to build or renovate the neighborhood libraries. It will be ending in 2019.
The County approved a $5M Bond issue.
The Community Foundation wants to help raise $10M.
The Library wants $10M from the City. Their Barnes & Thornburg legal Council said they were advised a bond issue could not happen in the near future due to Debt Service concerns and TIF financing was discussed.
At this point in time the River West TIF is "stressed", so it is unclear when and how much the City can provide to assist the Library in this renovation.
The presentation was "informational" for the Council. No Bills were presented for Resolution or Voting.
COMMUNITY RELATIONS MEETING at WUBS on October 9th, 6 - 8 pm
Ongoing Series by the Economic Forum and Councilwoman Regina Williams-Preston on the "Racial Divide" in South Bend
This meeting focused on "Predatory Practices" of Code Enforcement in the African American Community.
The Panel included Ms. Williams-Preston, Attorney Judi Fox from ND Legal Clinic and Ms. Traci Skibbins of Code Enforcement.
Ms. Williams-Preston cited her own experiences with Code Enforcement, Judgements and subsequent Settlements with the City over Code Violations for both her and her husband's properties.
She read a transcript of a recorded phone conversation with the former acting Code Enforcement Director, Randy Wilkerson. Council President Tim Scott asked her to refrain due to slander concerns. Ms. Williams-Preston said she had "cleared it with legal".
She wants the City to go from "revenue generation" with Code Enforcement violations to "acts of service" where the City helps people instead of punishing them.
68% of those living in SB have "Liquid Asset Poverty" and can't seem to generate "generational wealth".
Ms. Skibbins responded they are now putting people in touch with agencies and groups that can help people. She has a list that shows where to get help with roofs, utilities and other needed repairs.
Code Enforcement personnel are attending neighborhood meetings and assisting in neighborhood cleanup days. The Kennedy Neighborhood group has someone with a truck and equipment who volunteers to help those who need assistance staying in compliance.
In February of 2017 new guidelines were drawn up for Civil Penalties which can reach up to $5K. If not paid, Special Assessments can be added to property taxes. This can lead to someone who is unable to pay losing their home/property to a tax sale.
Ms. Williams-Preston says, "Citizens are intimidated by the process", referring to Ordinance Violations, Civil Penalties and Special Assessments.
There is a study on Code Enforcement Violations by race. Ask Councilwoman Williams-Preston if you are interested in seeing the map results.
Ms. Fox and her staff at ND Law Clinic help those who are victims of predatory lending. They said the sub-prime lending and foreclosure tends to be for homes built before 1960, and are valued at less than $100K.
She says we are #18 in the country for evictions. She says we have bad landlord/tenent laws that need to be changed. We also need a law that prohibits those who have abandoned property and code violations from buying more property.
COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE: (These are SUMMARIZED, not exact quotes)
* So people are not taken by unscrupulous contractors, offer information on how to set up Escrow Accounts.
* Do aggressive Code Enforcement in affluent areas
* Have an Amnesty Program like they do for parking tickets
* Setup a list of those with disabilities or seniors who need assistance with raking, snow removal and repairs
* Do a wider area for roofing program, not just one small block or two
* Have court appointed "Receivers" that can fixup a property and take it to foreclosure
* If there are unfair renting or practices, file with the local Human Rights Commission
* Change laws for those who just buy the 2,400 available tax sale properties must be accountable for the property condition (Many buy the properties online from all over the world just hoping to get the 10% interest that accumulates when the fines are paid.)
Be an active Citizen - VOTE!!!
For more articles and meetings: #MichianaObserver #CivicMedia #MySouthBend
Police Expenditures Account 101-0801:
2014 - $23,686,439
2015 - $25,106,271
2016 - $39,175,181
2017 - $42,094443
2018 - $44,047,526 (Estimated)
Source: 2019 Budget Handout and printed Budget Books
Fire Expenditures Account 101-0901:
2014 - $21,581,198
2015 - $17,642,922
2016 - $18,367,501
2017 - $20,579,934
2018 - $21,743,343 (Estimated)
Source: 2019 Budget Handout and printed Budget Books
PSAP (9-1-1 Call Center) is actually run by St. Joseph County.
$9,155,000 from EDIT Funds
The City of South Bend pays in a percentage of the costs.
In the past they have helped with IT issues with South Bend staff.
All of these Public Safety Departments have unions, so the wages are negotiated and have contracts.
DOES THE CITY HELP THE SCHOOLS?
To be clear, the South Bend Community Schools is a different entity with their own budget.
We did however find where the City Helped Schools Financially.
Payments to Charter School Career Academy of South Bend:
Career Academy Economic Development Revenue BONDS the City paid a total of $1,587,500
Payments to Career Academy were:
2012 - $542,500
2013 - $532,500
2014 - $512,500
City of South Bend received a grant to repair sidewalks around schools. (Safe Routes)
Thanks for this question Councilwoman Regina Williams-Preston!
7pm, 4th Floor County-City Building, All Present
* UNANIMOUSLY PASSED - $ 1,675,589 9 Year TAX ABATEMENT
* UNANIMOUSLY PASSED - $ 7,271,433 ZOO ENTRANCE DEBT
* AGREED TO GIVE ZOO $12,150,000 over 15 years
(All other items on the Agenda also passed Unanimously)
NEW TAX LEVY RATES FOR 2019
Bill # 18-53 National Distribution Centers, LLC TAX ABATEMENT
RESOLUTION for Phase ll of Lot 5 US 31 Industrial Park, 9 Year Abatement
* Wants to build a 232,000 sq ft warehouse on 20 acres of land
* They are a Food Transport company
* They have 9K Trailers and 4K Trucks
* Currently renting warehouse space from Lippert Components
* Says they planned to stay in the SB because of their workforce here and it would take a lot of effort to re-hire employees in a new location
* Inside River West TIF, but not receiving TIF dollars at this time
* Location is in Portage Pairie
* Pay $1M for Land, $13M for Building, $4M Machinery, $100K Other
* They plan to ask for a second Abatement on the $4M of Machinery
* Current Owner Stanz Cheese
* Land value $23,500 (Farm Land) 21.18 acres
* 1840 N. Commerce Drive, South Bend, 46628
* Year 1 - Abatement = 100% $ 311,431
* Year 2 - Abatement = 90% $255,067
* Year 3 - Abatement = 90% $255,067
* Year 4 - Abatement = 80% $198,702
* Year 5 - Abatement = 80% $198,702
* Year 6 - Abatement = 70% $142,337
* Year 7 - Abatement = 70% $142,337
* Year 8 - Abatement = 60% $ 85,973
* Year 9 - Abatement = 60% $ 85,973
TOTAL ABATEMENT = $ 1,675,589
Source: Council Meeting Packet information
Suggestions: Put Solar on the roof with Inovateous (local SB company that specializes in solar on warehouses), capture and use gray water and use native plantings.
Bill #38-18 LEVING TAXES and FIXING PROPERTY TAX RATES for 2019
* General Fund Taxation Rate $3.6535 on each $100 of property
* Park and Recreation Fund Rate $0.8597 on each $100 of property
* Cummulative Capital Development Fund Rate $0.0385 on each $100 of property
* Park Bond Debt Service Fund $0.0833 on each $100 of property
Total Civil City Rate of $4.6350
SPECIAL NOTE: The "Substitute Bill" is not posted for the public to see online at this time. The numbers above were the ones posted in advance of the meeting.
This one is continued to October 8th.
Bill #39-18 APPROVING EXPENSES of Departments and Funds for the City
This sets up and moves funds from 201 to 751 for the coming year
Bill #40-18 Appropriating for ENTERPRISE FUNDS
This sets up and moves funds from 287 to 672 for the coming year which include EMS, Building Fund, Parking Garages, Solid Waste, Waste Water, Water, Sewage
* Discussion was about adding $2/month to Residential Water Bills to assist with Stormwater/Flooding damages
* Eric Horvath, Director of Public Works, says this will not cover all the expenses, but help offset them.
* Councilwomen Jo Broden asked if $4/month might be more realistic
* Mr. Horvath responded the $4/month might be a burden on many, but that surrounding areas are at $5/month rates.
Water rates are regulated by the State and the City regulates Waste Water Rates, so adding the fee there would be easier.
* Further discussion on if rates would be based on ability to pay
* Mr. Horvath explained the Public Works currently has a list of "Top 10" backlog priorities that amount to about $1.2M
Bill #41-18 TRANSPO Budget for 2019
* See Michiana Observer post on "How Much Does Transpo Cost?"
NOTE: They voted to accept it, but it violated the "10 Day Rule" so they will vote to accept it on October 8th
Bill #42-18 September 2018 Appropriation Ordinance - Civil City Funds
* $672,857 FROM ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STATE GRANT (#210),
* $1,000,000 FROM DCI GRANT FUND (#212),
* $5,000 FROM GIFT/DONATION/BEQUEST FUND (#217),
* $699,700 FROM LIABILITY INSURANCE PREMIUM RESERVE (#226),
* ($960,000) FROM LOIT 2016 SPECIAL DISTRIBUTION (#257),
* ($337,632) FROM LOCAL ROAD & BRIDGE GRANT (#265),
* $28,100 FROM ECONOMIC REVENUE BOND (#281),
* ($55,000) FROM COVELESKI STADIUM CAPITAL (#401),
* ($124,050) FROM UDAG (#410),
* $28,100 FROM REDEVELOPMENT GENERAL (#433),
* $650 FROM SMART STREETS DEBT SERVICE (#756).
NOTE: Numbers inside a bracket ( ) are negative numbers. The number at the end is the FUND #. These are copied from the handout and they type them in ALL CAPS.
Bill #43-18 September TRANSFER ORDINANCE
* Move $210,000 from one Century Center account to another
* Miscellaneous charges in the Golf Division of the Parks Dept
Bill #44-18 ISSUE BOND FOR THE ZOO ENTRANCE
* Mayor got the Council to vote unanimously to issue $4,205,000 of debt to build a new entrance to the Zoo that will have a party room for kids and ADA bathrooms.
* $2.2 M of this is to repair the Zoo so it can meet AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) certification in June. There are rusted cages, aligator decking issues, roof repair, fencing, etc.
* $1.5M will go towards a bigger gift shop, a party/education area, bus loading area
* South Bend Tribune anounced this $3.7M commitment well before the vote, so they held a ground breaking ceremony.
(Rubberstamping by the Council was a given)
* Funds are also needed so the Zoo can buy and bring in a Griaffe to make more money. (A giraffe feeding station brings in added money.)
* Debt on the bond will be paid off February 1, 2039, (It will take 21 YEARS to pay off $4.2M)
* Bond Interest Rate not to exceed 6% annually
* Crowe will do the Debt Offering and Barnes & Thornburg will do the legal setup of it.
* Payment will be out of EDIT Revenues
* City also signed an agreement with the Zoo agreeing to pay them $810,000 a year for the next 15 years on top of this Bond = $12,150,000
NOTE: With AA2 Bond Rating, it should be at 2%, but Eddy Street Commons ll came in at 5%
REAL COST OF THIS BOND: (Approximately) for borrowing $4,205,000
Payments of $363,836.60 per year (final pmt slightly lower). Total payments over 20 years = $7,271,433.00. Total Interest over 20 years = $3,071,731.96.
(This could be higher if there is Capitalized Interest and additional fees.)
City has cost the taxpayers an extra $3M in interest instead of paying directly.
TAXPAYER COMMITMENT = $4,205,000 Principal + $3,071,732 in Interest + $12,150,000 Assistance = $19,426,732 to the Zoo (As close as we could approximate)
NOTE: By making this a Bond it cost taxpayers 73% MORE and meant less for other vital community needs
* Advised the Council they need to revisit their priorities for things like the $8M needed to repair 80 lane miles of roads
* Animal Advocate groups think the Zoo needs to close, not be further funded
* Parks was given millions of dollars already, putting the City in substantial debt. The Zoo needs to be funded out of that debt instead of taking on new debt.
* Residents have other priorites
* City does not need to take on debt and interest for this project. Zoo was supposed to be self-sustaining and separated from the City.
* It was suggested the Council limit the length of the bond to 10 years and 3%. This was rejected. If they had limited to these parameters it would have been:
(Approximately) $693,466 in interest instead of $3,071,732, a SAVINGS of $2,378,266.
Bill #36-18 1939 and 1947 CHARLES STREET ZONING
* Business needs to expand their parking area
* Plans to add additional fencing to keep business activity from disturbing the surrounding homes
Bill #37-18 CHANGING THE FLOOD PLAN, Chapter 21, Article 14
* Change in Lot Design Standards so instead of following standard designs like defined street widths, street surfaces, how far apart houses and buildling can be from each other, the Board gets to decide without regulation or public input.
* They can decide on any curb or street specifications they want. (2) All streets shall be surfaced and improved in the manner determined by the Board and shall conform to the latest standards adopted by the Board."
* Changes how far away sidewalks need to be
* Lets them determine how trees are planted
* Alleys shall be at the discretion of the Board
* Minimum right-of-way widths of all streets are at the discretion of the Board
* Removes, "If the subdivision is to be located in a flood hazard area, the subdivider's registered land surveyor shall forward pertinent plans and materials to the Department of Natural Resources for review and comment."
* SECTION XI. Chapter 21, Zoning, of the South Bend Municipal Code, Article 14, Subdivisions, Section 21 -14.06(c)(1)
Removes "If the subdivision replat falls within a designated flood hazard area, the subdivision replat shall be reviewed by the Department of Natural Resources in accordance with section 21-14.03(G)(1) of this article:"
NOTE: In summary, they get to decide whatever they choose, not follow prescribed parameters and not have to report developments in floodplain areas.
FIRST READINGS FOR:
Bill #45-18 Mayor's Salary Budget $110,885 for the Mayor
Bill #46-18 Common Council Member's Salary Budget $19,799 for Each Council Member
Bill #47-18 City Clerk's Salary Budget $72,318 for the Clerk
Bill #48-18 Teamster Budget (Negotiated)
Bill #49-18 Police Department Salary and Fringe Benefit Budget (Negotiated)
Bill #50-18 Fire Department Salary and Fringe Benefit Budget (Negotiated)
Bill #51-18 Non-bargaining Employees Wages
Bill #52-18 DRONES - Adding Article 15, Sections 14.157 to and including 14.159 of Chapter 14 on the operation of UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems)
Bill #53-18 Setting up 131 E. Tutt Street as a WINTER AMNESTY LOCATION FOR THE HOMELESS
* Change Zoning to "Group Resident" in a Mixed Use District Under Chapter 21 - 09.02(d)
* Chosen because it is near other Homeless Resources
* Owner Mathews 121 Tutt LLC
* Contact: David Vanderveen, Executive Director, HOPE Ministries, 574-235-4150
Bill #18-55 ZONING APPEAL for 1715 S. Dale and 1717 S. Dale
* Owner David Njoroge, 2010 Investment Group LLC, 3131 Springbrook Drive, SB
* Plans to build two family Duplex Townhouse on these two lots
* 68' x 80' lot size
Bill #18-56 ZONING APPEAL for 340 E. Colfax Avenue
* Lot #1 of the plat of "Seitz Park Minor Subdivision, 1.75 acres
* University of ND hydro-dam electric utility facility
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR:
Sue Kesim suggested creating a program for Seniors on fixed income living in their own homes in high crime areas be given home alarms like "SimpiSafe". Those who qualify could be identified through Real Services. The Fire Department could help install them like they do for the smoke detectors.
She felt this would help Seniors feel safer in their homes.
2017 - $10,357,759
2018 - $10,662,269 (Estimated)
2019 - $10,617,606 (Requested)
They currently have 117 Employees and they have a collective bargaining contract that ends in November of 2019
49 Fixed Route Buses
17 Paratransit Vans give about 65,000 rides per year and that is expected to increase 10%
A new scheduling software is expected to increase accuracy of pickup and dropoff times.
K -12 Ridership is up to 27,571
More Bus Shelters are going up this year
Revenues Expected in 2019:
Local Taxes 36%
State Assistance 19%
Federal Operating Assistance 14%
Passenger Fares 13%
"Passenger Revenue / Ridership continues to trend down with a strong economy / low unemployment"
Lease Revenue 2%
Expenses Expected in 2019:
Fuel Expense 7%
Misc Expenses 2%
Buses for Notre Dame games are sponsored, so they do not cost the taxpayer.
Principal Owed = $132,270,707
Interest Outstanding = $29,504,979
Payments Outstanding = $121,948,778
Federal Credits = $23,869
TOTAL CURRENT DEBT = $283,700,595
(Which is higher than what other figures are showing.)
EACH PERSON IN South Bend now owes $2,804.25 for the current debt level
SOURCE: State of Indiana Gateway Debt Comparison Report
Citizens attending community events to inform other Citizens.