The Terre Haute City Council voted 6 to 3 Thursday night to override Mayor Duke Bennett’s first- ever veto. The motion guarantees that money, given to the city by the Indiana Department of Transportation to refurbish Highway 40, will stay in what’s called a non-reverting city fund. Bennett hoped to place the money in the city’s general fund to make up for budget shortfalls, but after a similar situation with Highway 63, Councilman Todd Nation says the money needs to be protected.
“The problem with all that is once the money goes into the general fund there’s not a clear mechanism for it to come back out and be put toward the road. We understand that he wants to spend it on other things – that’s clear,” said Nation.
Bennett agrees the money would be spent on other things, but says it would be retrieved after July’s tax disbursements, and just in time for the expected repairs. Councilman Rich Dunkin sided with the mayor and voted against the override.
“The money will not go into the fund to help alleviate some of the cash pinch at the beginning of the year before we get our first tax allotment so what he’s going to be doing is being – he’ll just issue a large tax anticipation note,” Dunkin said.
Dunkin says the city will now have to make a $1.8 million larger anticipation, leaving tax payers with the burden of whatever interest is accumulated from that amount.