Frequently Asked Questions


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Building/Community Development/Planning

A few things needed; pass a 20 question test, original $5,000.00 surety bond payable to the City of Mishawaka, certificate of liability and worker’s comp insurance, pay a $125.00 fee.

If a contractor is doing the work, they need to obtain the permit. If the homeowner is doing the work, he/she can obtain the permit.

Yes; unless it is an exterior inspection someone must be there to let the inspector in the home or building.

You can call between 7:30am and 9:00am to schedule for that day or any time thereafter for the next day.

Rule of thumb: don’t cover anything before inspections are completed.

Depends on the type of permit, but the basic inspections include: footings, framing, electric service, rough electric, underground plumbing, rough plumbing, HVAC, and final building, plumbing, electric, and HVAC.

Painting, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops, landscaping, and similar work.

To construct, enlarge, alter, repair, demolish, or replace structural elements and it is valued over $300.00.

To ensure work is done in accordance with building codes and the approved plans.

Sheds, swimming pools and garages are considered accessory structures and must be constructed in the rear half of the lot, never the front. Privacy fences cannot exceed 7 feet in height, cannot be in the front yard, and if you are on are corner lot, the fence must be 12.5 feet in from the exterior side (street side) property line. No fence over 4 feet in height may be erected in the front yard and shall have a minimum of 75% of its surface open.

To file a complaint about issues you feel may be illegal or that may violate the zoning ordinance residents may notify the Building/Community Development/Planning Department. As an example, repairing of automobiles in residential areas and some commercial and industrial areas is not permitted.

Most single family residential properties are zoned R-1 Single Family Residential. If there is a duplex or two-unit apartment, the appropriate zoning is R-2 Two Family Residential District. There are 18 different zoning districts within the City. Contact the Building/Community Development/Planning Department with specific zoning questions.

General Questions

The City does not organize the Memorial Day Parade. Information about the Memorial Day Parade in the City Of Mishawaka may be found at www.mmdp.org or contact Mike Miller at 574-231-2495.

Contact the Penn Township Assessor's Office at (574) 256-6204.

Contact the St. Joseph County Health Department/Vital Statistics at (574) 256-6218.

Contact the St. Joseph County Health Department/Vital Statistics at (574) 256-6218. If the death occurred in a county other than St. Joseph then contact the Health Department for that county.

Contact the St. Joseph County Health Department/Vital Statistics at (574) 256-6218. If the birth occurred in a county other than St. Joseph then contact the Health Department for that county.

This is actually a County service. Contact the St. Joseph County Clerk for more information at (574) 256-6201.

This is actually a County service. Contact the St. Joseph County Clerk for more information at (574) 256-6201.

This is actually a County service. Contact the St. Joseph County Clerk for more information at (574) 256-6201.

This is actually a County service. Contact the St. Joseph County Clerk for more information at (574) 256-6201.

This is actually a County service. Contact the St. Joseph County Clerk for more information at (574) 256-6201.

This is actually a County service. Contact the St. Joseph County Clerk for more information at (574) 256-6201.

Yes, there are several ways. You could check out our Calendars on this website. If you are on Facebook, you can click the "Like" button on our page to get up-to-the-minute traffic alerts and event information as well.

Use our Report a Problem feature to submit  a problem ticket for numerous issues throughout the City. The appropriate department will recieve the submission and do their best to see that the issue is resolved in a timely manner.

Central Services

The leaf collection program normally begins near the end of October and will continue through November or until leaves are no longer a problem for residents. The Mishawaka Street Department will pick up leaves the day before each resident's regular trash pick-up day. Leaves and yard waste can always be bagged at set out with normal trash as well.

Residents are now billed for trash service on their Mishawaka Utility bill and will no longer receive a separate bill for trash & recycling collection from Allied Waste.

Two large items such as a couch, chair, or mattress may be disposed of each week with your regular trash pick-up. The item should be placed wherever you place your regular trash for pick-up. Items containing freon, such as a refrigerator or freezer must have the freon properly removed by a refrigeration service and the certificate of removal must be provided to Allied Waste, our contract trash hauler, before they will pick such items up. Questions can be addressed to Allied Waste at (800)-888-5783. There is a nominal charge for removal of freon.

The City operates a Environmental Center located at 1105 East Fifth Street. The center is open from 8:30 to 3:15, Tuesday through Saturday. The center accepts household hazardous waste including acids, aerosols, batteries, cleaners, cleansers, herbicides, medications, mercury items, paints, pesticides, poisons, solvents, waste fuels and waste oils.

For additional information, check out the Central Services Division section of this site. 

Engineering & Sewer

The Alley Paving Program provides for a 50/50 split of costs with residents for placement of 2" of bituminous pavement 10' in width. Upon request, a field inspection of each alley is conducted to determine the feasibility of paving the alley.

Property owners are responsible for the repair and maintenance of the sidewalks adjacent to their homes. The City of Mishawaka offers a Curb and Sidewalk Program, which was instituted in 1986 to encourage single-family homeowners to repair or replace the deteriorated public curb and sidewalks adjacent to their property. This program provides for a 50/50 split of the repair cost of curbs, sidewalks and drive approaches between the homeowner and the city. An estimate of cost will be given to the resident by the Engineering Department prior to any commitment for work to be completed. For more information or to enroll in this program click here.

The homeowner experiencing sewer problems is responsible for retaining a professional sewer cleaning firm to open the blockage in the line. If the line cannot be cleared, the homeowner is required to pay a $250.00 deductible and sign an authorization. Costs above the $250.00 deductible are paid from the Sewer Insurance Fund. In the event the repair cost is less than $250.00, the Sewer Maintenance Department will issue a refund of the balance to the homeowner.

Contact the Sewer Maintenance Department by phone (258-1715) to describe the sewer problem. The information requested will be your name, address, and the name of the company that could not correct your sewer problem. The homeowner is required to pay a $250.00 deductible (cash or check) at the Engineering Department, City Hall, 600 East Third Street. The invoice from the contractor paid to correct the problem is also to be brought to the Engineering Dpeartment.

Finance - City Controller

Contact the St. Joseph county Treasurer at (574) 235-9531.

Contact the Penn Township Assessor's Office at (574) 256-6204.

Contact the Penn Township Assessor's Office at (574) 256-6204.

Fire Dept. & EMS

This program is for children in 1st, 3rd, & 5th grades. The Survive Alive House is an actual replica of a home. Children are taught home fire safety and emergency exit. This house uses heat & smoke simulation.

Survive Alive House is located inside the Hannah Lindahl Children’s Museum at 1402 S. Main St., Mishawaka. To schedule a visit call Peggy Marker at 254-4540.

Phone the Fire Chief’s Office at 247-0928 to schedule. This program is for preschool and kindergarten age children. The program teaches children about fire safety using a talking fire truck called “Little Red”. Concepts that are discussed are:

  • Stop-Drop-Roll & Cover Your Face
  • Matches are tools, not toys
  • Use of 9-1-1
  • Home safety

At the conclusion of the program the children are taken on a tour of the fire station and they are shown the fire trucks. This program is conducted at our Station #3 located at 333 E. Douglas Road.

Each Fire Station schedules its own tours. Phone the Chief's Office at 247-0928 to obtain the correct phone number.

Fire reports are available from the Fire Chief’s office at 333 E. Douglas Road, Mishawaka.The cost of a copy of the initial fire report is $3.00.

Bonfires are not considered recreational fires but are considered ceremonial fires and, as such, are not permitted without an Open Burning Permit. But the fire must be attended to at all times. Only natural wood can be used. Construction types of lumber or wood pallets are not approved as burning material. If the bonfire causes any health problems for residence in the neighborhood, the Fire Chief has the authority to extinguish the bonfire.

With an approved Open Burning Permit, residents can burn yard and garden waste from April 15 through May 15 and October 15 through November 15.  The Applications for Opening Burning Permit can be obtained from the Fire Chief’s office at 333 E. Douglas Road, Mishawaka or on our website.

Government Offices

This is actually a County service. Contact the St. Joseph County Clerk for more information at (574) 256-6201.

Law Department

The Law Department performs all legal services for the City, including legal advice to City officials, preparation and review of contracts and other legal documents, prosecution of persons accused of violating City ordinances, and representation of the City and City officials in lawsuits.

The Law Department does not provide legal advice to members of the public.

Mishawaka Utilities

In all cases, you should call before you dig. You should call 811 at least 48 hours in advance of digging. That one phone call locates all underground services free of charge to you. The call could save your life.

In beautiful downtown Mishawaka, at 126 N. Church Street. We are one block north of Lincolnway and one block east of Main Street, right next to the Police Station.

Other utility services are offered by separate providers. They each have their own phone numbers and application procedures. For your convenience, you can link to their web sites by visiting our Utility Providers section of this site.

We provide Electric, Water, Wastewater Treatment (sewage), and Trash Removal services.

Our customers have the ability to sign up to receive an electronic version of their statement. Please view our home page for sign-up of your e-bill. Utility bills are mailed out for those who choose not to have an e-bill at least 10 days prior to the due date. If you are unsure how much you owe or need another statement mailed please call customer service 574-258-1630.

Billing

Mishawaka Utilities is pleased to announce that you can now pay your bill online via eCheck or Credit Card.

As always, you may still use our three standard methods of payment by cash, check, money order, or credit card at our business office or by mailing in your payment with your payment stub. You also have the additional options of paying via Bank Draft from a checking or savings account using our EZ Pay.

Please be advised that payments made via eCheck or Credit Card will be posted to your accounts on the next business day. If you have any questions about our payment options, please email our Help Desk.

For your convenience, we have several payment options available:

  • Pay at our office (cash, check, or money order)
  • Send payment by mail (check or money order)
  • Automatic payments from your bank account (EZ Pay)
  • Online payments (Paymentus) - e-check, Visa/Mastercard, or Discover accepted ($4.95 fee)
  • Online bill pay through your bank (usually a free service)
  • Call our toll-free number (866) 283-7020 (e-check, Visa/Mastercard, or Discover accepted ($4.95 fee))

This is a difficult question to answer. Everybody has a different lifestyle - there are really no "normal" bills. If you feel your bill may be in error, you should compare it to your bill at the same time last year. If you have done this and you still believe there may be an error, report it to us. We will make every effort to re-read your meter and inspect your service. Remember, there are many variables, like home insulation, water consumption, appliance efficiency, home/work schedules, and other considerations that make every home different.

Several days after your regular monthly bill becomes due, we send a notice reminding you that the bill is still unpaid, and restating the due date. If this amount is still unpaid when the next month's bill is generated, your account becomes two months delinquent and will be on our disconnect list, unless you make arrangements for payment prior to our disconnect date.

Whenever you receive a Final Notice or are charged a Penalty for late payment, that event counts as a Credit Offense. Also, if your service is disconnected for non-payment, or if your bank returns your check for insufficient funds, it is a Credit Offense. To maintain your account in good credit standing with us, you need to have no more than two Credit Offenses in the last twelve months. That credit standing is the sole deciding factor to determine the need for new or additional deposits. That also is reported to other utilities requesting information on your creditworthiness.

The reading period is listed on your bill, along with the number of days for the billing period.

Based on residential rates within the city and a 5/8" water meter, the minimum charge for Electric is $5.60, Wastewater is $30.10 and Water is $10.62.

There are variables on this depending on each household and individual circumstance. We recommend that each account be paid in full every month.

When our supplier changes their rates to us, the mechanism for our cost recovery is the “tracker”, a fixed surcharge per kWh. Also included in the tracker is a fuel adjustment calculation, which is strictly a pass-through. The tracker charge fluctuates every quarter and can appear as a credit or a charge. For more detailed information click here.

This fixed monthly charge is the basic fee for your electric service. It does not fluctuate with usage and does not include any consumption. This fee is intended to cover our costs of maintaining and keeping your customer account records active (data processing, meter reading, billing, etc.). If you have absolutely no electric consumption, the Customer Charge will be your only electric bill.

We can make special arrangements. You must come to our office and speak with a Customer Service Representative in person. We cannot make these arrangements by phone or email.

Each time you are billed, our computers add the current month's information and drop the thirteenth previous month's credit information. In this way, when your current 12-month account credit history shows no more than two Credit Offenses, you account status is upgraded to Good Standing.

At this time, only for home owners who heat with electricity.

No. Billing cycles are based on your address. View the Billing Cycle Map to figure out when your bill will be due.

Disconnection

You first received the bill (blue), then a "final notice" (red), and then a second bill (blue). The second blue bill shows your amount past-due (balance forward), with a notice at the bottom of the bill stating that any previous balance must be paid immediately to avoid disconnection.

We disconnect services in the mornings and reconnect the paid accounts after 12:30 in the afternoon. There is a processing/disconnect charge of $25 during regular business hours. The after-hours reconnect fee is an additional $70. Any amount due, including reconnect fees, must be paid with cash, money order or cashier's check. Our personnel cannot accept cash after hours. Our policy forbids the acceptance of personal checks for reconnection of services. If service is disconnected for non-payment, the reconnection of service could be subject to an after-hours charge if payment is made after 4:00 p.m.

Your account is considered delinquent if you owe for two months' service. You will be disconnected a few days after the due date for the zone you live in. (Your zone is shown on your bill and on your Final Notice.) You can call our office to determine your exact disconnect day and to make the arrangements to avoid disconnection.

We generally disconnect for non-payment immediately after the due date, Monday through Friday. You will need to call our office for the exact date.

New Service

By law, it is based upon a two month bill.

Water service is installed by appointment only. Electric crews are booked at the start of each day. Although we can sometimes get electric installed by the next day after your request, you should try to contact our office and give us three days' notice for any new service whenever possible.

If a deposit is required, yes you do. Otherwise, you may start new service over the phone.

Usually we keep it on your account to pay your last bill when you terminate service. However, if you are in good credit standing after twelve (12) months and you request it, we will apply the deposit to your account current bill.

A valid driver's license or other photo ID and a copy of your lease, if you are renting.

If you don't have a recent credit letter from another utility company, or a recent, good history with us at another location, then, yes, you do. Check out the Deposit Requirements section of this site for more detailed information.

Special arrangements can occasionally be made. We ask that you please come in and talk to us about it.

Yes. Most water meters are inside the home. We must get in to read your meter and check its installation. This is for your protection, as leaks are sometimes discovered at this point.

Yes, we can debit or charge your deposit amount to a Visa, MasterCard, or Discover when paying in our Business Office.

Water/Wastewater

There are several things to check: Has someone accidentally turned the main water valve off? If it's wintertime, have you checked for frozen pipes? Have you checked with your neighbors to see if they have water? There may be a water main break that hasn't been reported.

We are responsible for the main water line all the way to the curb stop. The customer is responsible from the curb stop to the residence and all the problems that originate from there. We do service the water meter that is located at the residence.

In the summer. Check with our Business Office to ensure that you are within the 6-month summer billing cycle to take advantage of the lower Wastewater charges.

Neither The City of Mishawaka nor Mishawaka Utilities send out a Water Line Insurance pamphlet; nor, do we promote water line insurance. We have found that many customers have recently received a one-page pamphlet in the mail regarding water line insurance. Any agreement that you sign is independent from the City of Mishawaka and Utilities Division, and therefore will be between you and the company offering the insurance.

NO. This practice can actually be a public health hazard and is therefore strictly prohibited.

This charge is for processing wastewater at our treatment plant. This is not a metered service. The charge is based upon water consumption. If your water bill is high, your wastewater bill will be also.

In periods of high rainfall and flooding, some sewers that carry combined sanitary and storm flows can be filled to capacity. In such an event, we suggest a call to the Sewer Maintenance Department at 258-1715 for assessment of the problem.

Otherwise, you will want to have your sewer lateral checked by an independent contractor. Sewer latrerals (the portion from your home to the street) can collapse or fill with roots and debris. Your lateral may need cleaning. If repair is in order, the Sewer Maintenance Department can tell you how to file an insurance claim with the City.

Information regarding the Sewer Insurance Program can be found on this website. If you need additional information or have additional questions please contact the Engineering Department.

Parks & Recreation

Generally the Park Restrooms are subject to change when we open them for the season and when we close them down in the fall. The hours that we open and then again close them daily will alter a bit from day to day as well. However, we generally open the restrooms for the season in and around mid April through mid October. As for the restrooms on a daily basis, the park staff begins their route at 7am and all restrooms should be open no later than 9am. We try to get them closed up just before dark, and that varies from month to month when they are open for the season.

Reservations must be made through the Parks & Recreation administrative office, 904 N. Main Street., Mishawaka, IN 46545, PH. (574) 258-1664. Facilities are considered rented when the appropriate fee has been paid, a waiver of liability signed and a permit obtained.

  • Outdoor shelters are comprised of picnic tables housed under a supported roof. While some smaller shelters have public restrooms attached to the shelters, these restrooms are for the entire public and are not included with a paid rental.
  • Wedding garden rentals have specific areas, i.e., the gazebo at Kate’s Garden, the Rock Garden at Battell, or the Tea House and/or Red Bridge at Shiojiri Niwa. Renting a wedding garden will permit you to use the designated location for a specific 2-hour time slot without another wedding being scheduled at the same time.
  • The Mishawaka Parks and Recreation Department does not rent or provide chairs, equipment, sound, etc. for wedding ceremonies, nor does it aid in set up or tear down. All activity must start and stop within the 2-hour time allotted..

Outdoor shelter and building rentals are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wedding gardens are rented in 2-hour time slots with 1/2 hour between rentals to eliminate any overlap.

Outdoor shelters are available for rental from the middle of April through the middle of October. During rental months, these facilities have public restrooms for added convenience.

It is not necessary for an individual to rent a particular facility to enjoy its use; however, “whenever any person desires to use the park facilities for a particular purpose, . . . such person shall make application for a permit to use the park facilities (Municipal Code, Section 50-2(a)”. Renting does ensure you and your family that you have a guaranteed location for your family event. Renting provides you with a permit for the given location so that others cannot use that same location at the time you have it rented.

To verify residency, we typically will ask to see a driver's license. In some situations where individuals have recently moved into the area, a utility bill in the individual's name or a lease/purchase agreement along with the driver's license will also work.

Season passes are available at both the Park Office and at the Merrifield Complex. All family members to be included in the family season pass are required to be present in order to have a photo taken and placed on his/her own pass.

We often have students who wish to purchase an ID or a Season Pass who are too young to drive. In that case, we can verify residency through school ID's or report cards.

The Parks Department requires that if you wish to "hunt metal" in a Mishawaka park, you must annually obtain a permit sticker to adhere to your metal detector. These stickers may be obtained in person at the Parks office at Battell Center, 904 N. Main Street. When a permit is obtained, a card certifying that you are authorized to hunt metal will be completed and provided. Specifically, the card authorizes you to hunt metal "in the Mishawaka Parks - but never on the golf course or in the parks where it interferes with the public." The card includes the your name, age and permit number and should be kept with you while hunting metal in any Mishawaka park. There is no fee associated with this permit; however, we do require a valid driver's license for identification purposes and for copying along with the permit and card, which is then kept on file in our offices.

Police Department

This is actually a County service. Contact the St. Joseph County Clerk for more information at (574) 256-6201.

If you are reporting a theft or vandalism involving $2,500 or less in damages or loss you can file a report online. Lost cell phones can also be reported using our online reporting. For other non-emergency reports please call (574) 258-1678.

If this is an emergency or crime in progress CALL 911.

Yes. The Mishawaka Police Department uses a web site called buycrash.com to service accident report requests. You can also access buycrash.com from our Online Services menu at the top of the screen.

Yes. You can submit an anonymous crime tip at any time by visiting the Police Department section of this site or by clicking on Report a Problem in the Online Services menu at the top of the screen. The emails that are generated when using this tool DO NOT contain any identifying information about the sender.