Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood delivered the 121st State of the City Address Monday night under the theme “Making Big Happen.”

In his speech, Wood said the 2020 census showed Mishawaka grew by 6.2%, making it the fastest growing community in St. Joseph County.

He also said crime reports in the city fell 0.3% in 2021, the third straight year with a drop in crime.

“Despite our challenges, we’re staying strong — and we’re getting stronger,” Wood said. “We’ve been growing even faster lately, we’re financially stable and stable, and we’re safe and getting safer.”

However, Wood said city spending exceeded revenue last year. The city circuit breaker caused a loss of $8.3 million and its budget was tighter than normal due to staff increases.

“We think it was warranted, especially given inflation,” Wood said. “But also, there is a lot of competition for workers, workers, workers. And we also see this at the city level.

Wood also offered to hire nine new public safety officers — three police officers and six firefighters. Police stations and three fire stations would be funded by US bailout dollars, while the remaining fire stations would be funded by increased EMS fees.

Mishawaka already dedicated $1 million of its $11.8 million in ARP funding to pay city employee bonuses. On Monday, Wood proposed to allocate $3 million of the remaining funds to public safety, $6 million to infrastructure improvements and $1.8 million to discretionary projects decided by the administration and the board of directors. the city.

He said the city was also vying for a share of the $50 million South Bend-Elkhart area. state READI grant.

This funding would support a second phase of The Mill mixed-use residential complex, a 350,000 square foot youth sports complex and a number of improvements to George Wilson Park.

Other “big projects” covered by Wood’s theme include the transformation of the former Liberty Mutual Insurance building into a combined city hall, police headquarters and utility office and the redevelopment of the former Dodge/RMG site, which the company recently decided to acquire.

“The cost of not acting will be far greater than the cost of acting,” Wood said. “I think the story of the site is important, but the future of the site could be an even better story in the future.”

by Mishawaka full report on the state of the city is available on the city’s website.

Contact Gemma at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo.

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