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Ask The Mayor: Terre Haute’s Duke Bennett

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett talks about why he is against the city council transferring funds to hire a financial planner.

  • Terre Haute Duke Bennett

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    Photo: Joe Hren

    Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett

  • Terre Haute Wabash Ave.

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    Photo: Joe Hren

    Terre Haute, Wabash Ave.

  • Wabash Ave. and 3rd St.

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    Photo: Joe Hren

    Wabash Ave. and 3rd St., the site of new Indiana State University student housing.

  • Terre Haute Water Plant

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    Photo: Joe Hren

    The city plans on spending $250 million on waste water plant upgrades for the next 18 years.

Host Joe Hren sat down with Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett to share his thoughts from his recent State of the City address including progress on a new police station and water treatment plant.

Listen to their full conversation above.

Here are some highlights:

Hren: In your State of the City address, you spoke about how lawmakers are changing the way TIF (tax increment financing) districts are being handled, how will that effect Terre Haute?

Bennett: We have several TIF districts in Terre Haute, one is a legacy TIF and that is a Tax Increment Finance district, so when something new comes in all the property taxes they pay goes back into the TIF to build new infrastructure like sewers and roads. The legislature is focusing on legacy TIFs, which means TIF districts that don’t have an end date. They are concerned it’s not working like it should. I feel like we’re doing everything totally transparent, we’re not hurting any of the other entities and it works really well.

Hren: You also spoke about the waste water treatment plant, construction is not only going on now, but for the next 18 years?

Bennett: We have a long term control 20 year plan that was approved two years ago. Right now we are doing the biggest one piece of that. Our sewer system was built in the 1860s, then the treatment plant came along in 1961. So as we increase the plant and work on the infrastructure, we create some other opportunities to store the water when the system gets full.

Hren: A new report states the number of riders for public transportation is the most in the United States since the 1950s. What is ridership like in Terre Haute?

Bennett: Our numbers are up too. I think we’re up 11 percent over the previous year. If you don’t have that increased ridership to help you offset some of those expenses, you’re in trouble… at least we’re seeing an upward trend for three straight years in a row.

Joe Hren

Anchor, Indiana Newsdesk - WTIU & WFIU News. Follow him on Twitter @Joe_Hren

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