T.H. Mayor Bennett: Some Layoffs Still Likely in Budget Process

Terre Haute’s mayor Wednesday would not rule out the possibility that some layoffs may still be necessary to meet budget constraints.

Terre Haute Park Bench

Photo: Daniel Robison

The city of Terre Haute could see layoffs before it finalizes its 2011 budget.

As he nears the end of budget talks, Terre Haute’s mayor says he does not expect large-scale job cuts to keep the city in the black.  But the mayor Wednesday would not rule out the possibility that some layoffs may still be necessary.

With just a few departmental budgets left to review, Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett says he hasn’t seen one yet which mandates pink slips as a means toward profitability.  Still, speaking on WFIU’s “Ask the Mayor,” Bennett used guarded optimism to characterize his view of how the rest of what’s been a topsy-turvy budget process will go.

“It’s looking like it’s stabilizing a little bit,” Bennett said. “I’m feeling a tiny bit better.  When you’re losing 23% of your income from your budget, that’s pretty significant.”

A Moving Target

Still, Bennett conceded it’s likely that simply losing jobs to attrition won’t be enough to account for such a significant drop in revenue.

“I think that we may have a few positions that we’ll have to cut back,” the mayor said. “Once again, I just can’t figure the number yet, because we don’t have the bottom line of our budget.  I’m not trying to be evasive at all, it’s just such a moving target.”

Bennett said some departments have almost nothing left to cut, using staffing at the street department as an example.  The mayor says the current 35-employee workforce is less than half of what it was just a few mayoral administrations ago.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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