South Bend Mayor James Mueller, along with Public Works Director Eric Horvath and Common Council leaders Sheila Niezgodski and Canneth Lee, announced a New Neighborhood Homes Initiative. The initiative’s first steps include policy changes for utility connection fees and a new reimbursement program for the costs of physical connections to water and sewer services. These steps will support the development of more affordable housing in neighborhoods across the city.
The policy changes will be made to the current System Development Charges (SDCs), which cover the utility’s cost of connecting new developments to water and sewer services. Under the revised policy, SDCs will not apply to infill housing of 5 or fewer units. They will also not apply to housing developments of more than 5 units if they are financed with low-income housing tax credits or are built by a non-profit. The Common Council is expected to begin hearing the ordinance with these proposed changes on Monday, June 27.
A new Sewer Lateral Reimbursement Program will offer a reimbursement up to $20,000 for qualified costs of connecting the sewer lateral to new low- and moderate-income homes. This funding may be used to cover the cost of the entire sewer lateral from the main line to the residential structure. Qualifying costs for reimbursement include labor, materials, traffic control, and restoration of pavement, curbs and sidewalks related to the sewer lateral work. The Board of Public Works will take up this program after the Common Council passes the ordinance amending the SDCs.
Subject to the respective approvals by the Common Council and Board of Public Works, both the revised System Development Charges and the Sewer Lateral Reimbursement Program will be active by mid-July.