$304.9 million South Bend budget approved by Common Council

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By: Krystal Vivian kvivian@953mnc.com

(Spencer Marsh/95.3 MNC)

The 2016 budget for the city of South Bend was approved in a 5-4 vote by the South Bend Common Council on Monday night, Oct. 12.

The budget comes in at $304.9 million and includes a minimum 2 percent raise for municipal employees, including Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who was not present in council chambers for the meeting, and council members.

The budget also included $104,000 for a new diversity compliance/inclusion officer and $86,000 for a senior human resources generalist, the South Bend Tribune reported. The money will be used for salaries and benefits.

Councilmembers Henry Davis Jr. and Derek Dieter both attempted to remove the diversity compliance/inclusion officer from the budget, but their efforts failed.

“I think the position in itself is a racist position,” Davis said, according to our news partners ABC 57. “I think it makes it clear that this administration is incapable of hiring people of color.”

Council president Tim Scott disagreed, saying that he and council members Karen White and Fred Ferlic met with Buttigieg about the positions and believes they are about making sure residents are represented by city employees.

“It’s not about filling quotas. Once you start filling quotas and giving jobsto people who aren’t qualified, then you get into lawsuit issues. And I really think that’s not the case,” Scott said, WNDU reported.

The budget also includes $18,000 set aside for a proposed city identification card program, the South Bend Tribune reported.

Council members agreed that more information is needed about the program before it launches and that the money won’t be used without the council’s approval.

Council members Davis, Dieter, Oliver Davis and David Varner voted against passing the budget.