Mayoral Candidates: User Fees Unpopular, But May Be Needed

If the city of Terre Haute cannot balance its budget, will the mayoral candidates consider user fees?

Terre Haute City Hall

Photo: Daniel Robison

Terre Haute's mayoral candidates have slightly differing views on the future of user fees.

The two candidates for Terre Haute Mayor say they are reluctant to add user fees in the next administration, but are forced to concede they may be necessary if state funding to municipal government continues to decline.  Democratic candidate Fred Nation says he thinks too many user fees could shrink the city’s population.

“If cities become too expensive for people to live in, then they’re going to flee the cities and go to cheaper tax areas,” Nation says.  “The same goes with fees.  So that’s why I’m not a fan of just indiscriminately adding fees.  I won’t say that won’t ever happen, but I’d be very reluctant to increase fees on any essential city services.”

Incumbent Republican Duke Bennett was more accepting of the possibility, but says he would want to solicit public input before upping the cost of any city service.

“It would have to be something very specific that people could tangibly say ‘OK, I’m paying a dollar a month or two dollars a month and I get these two or three things,’” the mayor says.

Still, both men say they would prefer county and state taxes to cover the cost which might otherwise be offset by user fees.

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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