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Ask The Mayor: Terre Haute's Bennett on police retention, casino license

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Unknown Speaker
Hello and welcome to Ask the mayor on WFU, I'm Joe Hren. This week we're joined on zoom by Terre Haute, Mayor Duke Bennett. Hello, welcome. Thanks so much for doing this. Appreciate it.

Unknown Speaker
No, I, this was always fun. I enjoy the time Joe. And I get a lot of positive feedback. So a lot of people watch this. And so I it's a good thing for me to do, and to get the message out there. So I really appreciate it.

Unknown Speaker
Well, good. And I know it's really interesting to hear different perspectives, different cities, we're not too far apart from one another. We're going to get to a few things today I but as always, can't forget about what's going on with the pandemic. does seem like the COVID curve is declining. And, like much of what's been happening with the pandemic, there's, from what I've been reading this, there's really no hard answer as to why I think everyone just wants to know, once upfront, easy answers, but you just can't answer this at the temperatures haven't fallen either. So what's why I guess what are you hearing now from your end about the COVID situation.

Unknown Speaker
So one thing that makes me feel good is, you know, when we first kind of started going, the numbers started going up, you know, weeks ago, most people said it would be a six to eight week, you know process to hit the peak and then come down. And we seem to be right on that. So that that gives me some confidence in those that predict this kind of stuff and look at the numbers and watch other places, you know, use real data and use the projected data. And I'm our numbers have been going down, you know there for a while they were running over 100 a day. And now we're down, you know, in the 30s and 40s a day and so hospitalizations are down. So that's good, the vaccinations are up, all the factors you would hope are happening or happen. What I worry about though, is another variant that comes at my, you know, dodge the vaccine or whatever, you hear a lot of different things. And I just don't know when the end is really the end. I'm hopeful that with this delta variant, though, we seem to definitely be trending in the right way. And I've been doing it for well over a week now. So we seem to be on the right downhill slide.

Unknown Speaker
And like I mentioned the temperature, temperatures haven't fallen either. And that's when you start to see people more gathering inside and what could be more of a way to spread the virus.

Unknown Speaker
We could stretch the warm weather out a little longer and kind of get to the end here. But who knows. You're right, because that's what will happen. People are starting to start going to basketball games, and a variety of other things that indoor activities and that's where your concern comes from. So you're exactly right.

Unknown Speaker
I know I heard a story just in Monroe County about the hospital situation and someone being entered into with COVID and had to wait maybe eight hours or longer just to get a bed because they were still so full in IU health Bloomington. What's the situation there in Vigo County?

Unknown Speaker
Yeah, I'm not hearing anything there for a while it was you had to wait in the emergency room for a while, but they found a place for you. But the numbers are down now to the point where it's not. They're getting them out of there pretty quickly. Now, you know, I guess that can vary from day to day. I don't have any data over this past holiday weekend yet. I expected any time but you know, over the holidays, they usually kind of give us multiple days worth of information. But last week, the hospital reports were good and trending in the right direction as I said earlier, which means there's room for them and they can process them out of the emergency room much faster. So I don't anticipate any uptick in that this week. I haven't nothing is made me feel that we're going to see that rise again anytime soon.

Unknown Speaker
Now we're hearing more about the booster shot for those that may be now just hearing about this. What have you heard and what should they know? or How can they find out more information about whether to get this booster shot?

Unknown Speaker
Yeah, you know I always tell people call your family doctor you know, that's the first place you need to turn to. In Vigo county though if you want some general questions answered, you can always call the health department they're the best source of the current you know, they keep track of that for us, you know really well and staying on top of the CDC guidelines, what's coming out of the state and, and be able to point you in the right direction to answer your questions or get you to a provider and so I'm not hearing a lot about them. boosters that myself, you know, here a little bits and pieces. But I think the focus right now is just continuing to get people who have not been vaccinated, at least get one shot, you know, in their arm. And once again, if you're concerned about that, please call your family doctor because your personal, you know health situation, they're going to be best to tell you whether you know that they feel it's safe, and they think it's going to be effective. Let them answer those questions for you. And I think that's the best way to get people kind of through this process. So those numbers continue to go up in Vigo County, we're over 50%. Now. So we've made some progress there. I still say there's a whole bunch of people out there that have had go been and they got the antibodies. And so they're protected, too. So I think every day, we keep making that general number of unprotected people smaller. And that's the goal.

Unknown Speaker
You know, we've had that question into the newsroom that you mentioned that and just kind of sparked that with me that people want to know, how can you calculate that number, the people who have the antibodies, because we keep talking about the vaccine, and we're at you know, 48%? Well, now, you know, 52%? Or what, what have you, but we're not counting those who have had COVID?

Unknown Speaker
I think it's a valid point. I mean, I had COVID last year. So you know, I've thought a lot about a lot of people that have had it. And so they you know, once again, you get a lot of sources of information, but it appears to me and the research that I've done and been given that people that had COVID last year seem to be this delta is not affecting them. And and if you really sick, you know, you got it, and you went through the process that this and what so that's a good sign for me now I'm only talking to, you know, small groups of people and what doctors, you know, can tell me what, obviously, without buddy's HIPAA violation here, but just telling me And generally speaking, that every day that more people to get vaccinated, then you've got those people that had COVID before or maybe you're having, you know, got it now, or recently, they've got antibody, so it's not so bad is when they talk about 185 million Americans, you know, have got at least one shot? Well, I think there's another 100 million out there that there's no way to prove it unless you get a blood test that we just keep we're inching towards, you know, getting more of that saturation. And that herd immunity, whether it's meat, but by vaccination, or by actually having COVID and having the antibody. So that gives me hope.

Unknown Speaker
And I believe I did read somewhere where we go, the Vigo County Health Department, you mentioned is hosting some mobile vaccination clinics and even some information sessions. I think

Unknown Speaker
that's really important that you know, if you're not sure, just go sit down and talk with him, let him explain it to you. And I still point you back to your doctor. Because if your doctor tells you you ought to do it, then you probably need to listen to your doctor. And if there's some other reason why you shouldn't, then that's between the two of you. But the more knowledge you have, the more people you talk to. And the more that we all kind of jump into this. You know, from that perspective, I think we're all better off. And so you just can't keep saying that over and over again, people are going to have to make some decision. That's what it boils down to.

Unknown Speaker
Are there any city incentives for employees there in Terre Haute to get the vaccination?

Unknown Speaker
No, not done that. I'm just kind of waiting to see what this rule you know, that comes out from OSHA from President Biden's executive order of how that because obviously we have more than 100 employees. So I'm kind of waiting to see what those rules look like. And we're going to have to negotiate with our unions. And I've got some work ahead of me to do on that. So we'll see right now there's nothing though.

Unknown Speaker
Do you hear anything from city employees about wanting that type of,

Unknown Speaker
you know, you hear no, not as much about that. I just think the ones that have been vaccinated, but like to see the one the ones that aren't vaccinated to go do that. And so I think we just need to figure out our next level strategy here, as this is rolled out of kind of where we're going. I hate to do that only because you're kind of rewarding this late behavior. And people who have already done it, you got to do something for them too. So it's not just doing something for those that are going to get a vaccine currently. And then there's a different cost to that, obviously. So we'll say I'm open to that. I just, I haven't had a lot of people asking and department heads haven't been pushing me on that. We just want to keep encouraging people to get vaccinated who can and want to you know that's that's that's our push.

Unknown Speaker
I guess I could ask the opposite. Are there people that are that would be upset about any type of mandate or reward program? Oh,

Unknown Speaker
yeah, I'm sure. You know, I've already heard from a couple of unions saying that, you know, they want to sit down and negotiate this before we implement some. So we've had a lot of internal discussions and some strategies, discussions, but having a permanent plan right now, I'm not there yet. But I really want to see what these OSHA rules are.

Unknown Speaker
Are there any city departments hurting with the labor shortage due to that, you know, contracting COVID, and then having to be out? And then maybe where a few people working with that person have to be in quarantine? And then you find yourself with, you know, a limited department with no staff? Has that happened yet?

Unknown Speaker
No. You know, last year, we had a few little cycles, the fire department got hit pretty hard last year, but not in this cycle of this delta variant. You know, we've had one z two Z's, you know, and we've really kept people apart on the job as much as we can anyway, we don't have them congregating the ether lunch together before you know, when they first get to work, we have typically come in, if they need to see their supervisor, whatever they need to do clock in, then get your vehicle and go do your field work. And so I think that's helped a lot, keeping people separated. That's obviously harder to do and city hall. But, you know, we've not had a lot of foot traffic in but you know, outside people. And so we really onesy doozies, I mean, really, I've just had a person here and a person there. And they go on, we've had people go and get some tasks, you know, if they've been exposed to them, and everything seems to be working much better than it did last year, there was a lot of unknowns. I think we're just a little smarter. And we're all you know, taking our precautions, which is keeping that from happening.

Unknown Speaker
And sorry, I just missed out what department did you say had the issue last year,

Unknown Speaker
our department, you know, I

Unknown Speaker
find that

Unknown Speaker
okay, and obviously we lost a fireman too. But we It was kind of spread because they're in close quarters, you know, and they were out seeing people every day multiple times a day that had COVID. So it's hard to keep them away from that. And then you get one of the test is positive ever has symptoms, and you got to shut the other ones down. So that was balanced last year, but it's not been an issue this year.

Unknown Speaker
So a lot has changed with the open casino license there in Terre Haute. The deadline to apply has passed. Now the state will decide I believe it's November 17. Which which company will get to open that casino? I believe four companies have applied including the Terre Haute based Lucie luck gaming, have you had a chance to look over the four and I know this is not something that you are deciding, but as mayor have a very big vested interest into this, this huge operation that will be coming into your city? Do any four of those stand out to you? And why?

Unknown Speaker
No, you know, I think generally speaking, they're all good proposals. Our preference is just to stick with the local guy, Greg Gibson, who is in a partnership with hardrock. That's one of the four. And we just think that's the best fit one we think the hardrock brand is it's top notch, and to the fact that Greg would be is directly involved with that proposal, because, you know, he's just done so much for the community previously and continues to do today, if he's involved with this casino, it's just going to benefit the community greatly down the road. And so we think that's a great fit. But as you said, we have very little input into this, you know, the state awards, the license for the Gaming Commission, they take the information of these people submitted their proposals, and they're evaluating those and doing background checks and all the things that they do to make the right decision on behalf of the State of Indiana. I'm hopeful that it'll be the best fit for Terre Haute Vigo County. But they know the inside information that we don't know, you know, we know what the public has seen in those proposals. And so all we know is this is what it would look like if we get the job. Okay. We'd love for a first class casino to come here that's going to draw a lot of people and make them money and bring some local dollars back here that we can span and so whichever one that is, is obviously we're at the mercy of the Gaming Commission. Just I think that a hard rock proposal with Greg Gibson being part of that is something that we've been thinking about pursuing and partnering with for many, many years now. We just like to see this process come to a close

Unknown Speaker
Do you feel like anything I mean, I guess the question would be, you know, with a pandemic, this past year and a half, two years or so, and this casino was started in the works well before that, and now we're getting to a point where it's, it's getting close to coming back again, do you feel like this casino can still be something that is profitable, you know, hotel resort that people will still come and feel safe at?

Unknown Speaker
Yeah, absolutely, I do. You know, the casinos have done a lot of things with masking when they've got to reopen. Cleaning, you're doing all the things that you would expect people to do when you're in close proximity to many other people. I am hopeful that this COVID thing is towards the end, I don't know what other variants work out there. But as we talked about earlier, the more people that are vaccinated, the more people are exposed to it, at some point, we're going to get to that herd immunity, and we're going to be able to move on. I think the timing of this probably opening in 12 1415 months, is going to be tie into that very, very well. So I'm feeling good about that. I think that'll be behind us by them. And I think it will be a very profitable casino for the operator that selected.

Unknown Speaker
This reminds me talking in Nashville with municipal consultant DAX Norton a few a month or so ago, where the food and beverage tax income money for the town of Nashville went up during the pandemic, prior to the previous year, we almost couldn't believe that. And he attributed that to the fact that their tourism got to went up because the local people still wanted to do something. And that's why their income there, but the food and beverage tax went up. And so it kind of reminds me of something there too, that you have a something local that that might attract more local people during times of a pandemic.

Unknown Speaker
Well, you know, it dipped a little bit last year, obviously, when restaurants were closed and hotels were closed. And I mean, it was ugly last year. But when we got into September and October last year, it started picking back up. And we've had a couple of record months now we've only had the, you know, food and beverage tax for a few years now. But it's doing extremely well. And I think some of that improvement last year was due to carry out also there was a lot of people that were ordering either having it delivered, or they were carrying it out. And so the restaurant business, you know, started picking up at the end of the summer and early fall. And it's been gangbusters ever since. So but yeah, having things like the casino will be opening up the convention center next year, all those things are going to add to our food and beverage tax because the more different unique things that you have, you're tapping a whole new market out there people that want to be out whether there's a you know, pandemic or not, people are still not just gonna sit at home forever, you know, you got to get out and do things. And I think having those outdoor opportunities and indoor opportunities will bode well for us as we move forward.

Unknown Speaker
I hear I hear the police station opening or ribbon cutting is Friday, and then they move in Monday. So this is a long awaited project that I'm sure you're just thrilled with,

Unknown Speaker
oh, I couldn't been happier. You know, we got a great deal on the building and the remodeling component of it, I was able to basically gain 10,000 more square feet by buying that existing building for the same price that would have cost us to build a new one. And so I feel good about the business model and the way it played out. Yeah, we're a few years behind where I wanted to be a being in it. But we're there now and so they're putting the finishing touches on it this week. I have a ribbon cutting on Friday at 11 o'clock, and then Monday they'll be in to operate out of that building. And so they're excited. I'm excited. The community's excited about this project around 45,000 square foot building that's state of the art. Really looking forward to get them in there and let them function in a new facility and as quick as we can tear down the old building and redevelop that site on Wabash Avenue.

Unknown Speaker
Now something we've been covering with budgets and Bloomington is what some are calling a dire need for more police officers. Some say that the police department in Bloomington is understaffed, overworked, underpaid. The city says it's hiring more unarmed personnel to help and hiring hiring officers just isn't what it used to be. Can you relate to that at all there in Terre Haute?

Unknown Speaker
Well, you know, our numbers are staying generally the same. We've had a lot of retirements and we'll continue to have retirements in the future. But we bring new officers on we try to keep our staffing right at about the level where we've had it for over the last five or six years, basically maybe seven years now. So I'm not seeing a big change there. We're not changing the way we do our police thing, you know, we kind of changed a few years ago. So we're already doing something different. We're not reacting to anything. And I feel that we're staffed about rifle, the number of primes we have each year, and our ability to respond our call response time, I'm feeling pretty good about where we're at, we did have to increase the public safety budget a little bit this year to pay for the body cams. You know, we covered the cost last year through some other funding sources, but we put it into the police department budget for this year. And so we had to add an extra $200,000 to the budget to be able to cover those costs. So that you know, we bought new police cars and things like that, that we've kind of put off for a while just because of property tax caps and everything else. But we're kind of holding the line on our spending there. And we've increased it just a tiny bit. But I think it's well spent money. We were accredited agency. As I mentioned many times, we're following all the proper state and federal guidelines and trying to do all that community policing we need to do with the staff that we have. And so I don't anticipate any changes as we move down the road. We just want to continue to be as efficient as we can and solve these crimes as fast as we possibly can and serve the public and so we're accomplishing those goals every day.

Unknown Speaker
It's it sounds like retention is decent there in Terre Haute, you tribute that to salaries? Is it? Is it perks? Is it

Unknown Speaker
maybe a little bit, you know, I think it depends on the officer, there's some that having a perk of a bank on the corner is a big deal to them. Others, they'd rather see more money going into retirement or us covering other costs that they personally bear to be a police officer. The younger people if the salary is pretty good for them, you know, they're coming in at a pretty decent salary absolute been able to raise it up some, you know, the older guys and gals have been on for a long time are just kind of seeing that this the end of their career. And they're you know, they're happy where they're at, and they're just trying to make that decision when they go. I do worry about the pool of people coming in the future, though our numbers cycle through every time we put out a call for applicants. And you know, that's been an issue for us. And it was not so bad last time. But who knows what the future holds to replace those officers as they do retire. And we use the feed after department. You know, we get them trained, they go through the Academy, they come here spend a year and there are some police departments that are paying a lot more than we do this. So we do lose a few that way too.

Unknown Speaker
I know we're getting down here just a few more minutes. But I wanted to have you give us a quick update. I know there's some paving projects and a ready grant that you've been wrapping up to Yeah.

Unknown Speaker
So we're down to the last really two paving projects other than the city hall parking lot. We still have some paving to do out here that we're going to do South First Street this week. And then next week, we've got a couple of streets in Robin Hood where we get a drainage project out there and put new storm drains and curbs. And so we need to do those two streets, and then we'll be done with paving this year. So all told, we spent about $2.8 million on paving in the city of Terre Haute this year that we did the $8 million Lafayette Avenue project. But I think we've had a pretty good year on road infrastructure. Looking forward to doing that much again next year. Roughly $3 million or so in paving. So I'm I'm happy with that it's a drop in the bucket in the big scheme of things. We just can't pay fast enough. But we've spent more than we've ever spent in any single year, just on street paving. The road grant was submitted that back on September 30. On time, it's $300 million worth of public and private projects, economic development activity. And we progressed on $73 million from the state as the match for that. So that really excited about that. Lots of projects coming down the road, whether we found them through ready or some other source. We're going to get them done. There are a lot of quality and life related things. So despite a code but we're getting a lot of things done here and I'm just very bullish on Tara. budget is past. Yep, past nine to nothing last week. We're about $110 million budget $2 million revenue over expenses. So great budget. They're really good about that the council into work that's behind us.

Unknown Speaker
Any other announcements?

Unknown Speaker
No, I don't think so. You know, fall is upon us here by laying, still kind of warm out. But, you know, leave season Don't be here before long. We're doing Lempicka. We're gonna wrap up the paving as I mentioned, and within We can only go into that planning phase for next year. So that's kind of where we're at the budgets behind us. And we need to plan our projects, and then we'll hit the ground running, you know, the first of the year.

Unknown Speaker
All right, Mayor, thank you so much for your time and, hey, we'll see you in November.

Unknown Speaker
Okay, Joe, take care. Take care.
Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett on the Zoom interview Tuesday morning. (Zoom)

Bennett says the city hasn't reacted, but has been evolving policing for some time. He prefers Lucy Luck gaming as the city's casino operator. And we get an update on the end of this year's paving projects.

On this week’s installment of Ask The Mayor, Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett addresses these issues and more on a Zoom conference call. Listen to the full conversation with Indiana Newsdesk anchor Joe Hren by clicking on the play button above, or read some of the questions and answers below. A portion of this segment airs 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. Wednesday on WFIU.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

Hren: A few reports are indicating a decline in COVID cases, but many find it hard to know why. Still so much to learn from the pandemic, what are you hearing and what's the situation in Terre Haute now?

Bennett: Most people said it would be a six to eight week process to hit the peak and then come down. And we seem to be right on that. So that that gives me some confidence in those that predict this kind of stuff and look at the numbers and use real data and use the projected data.

And our numbers have been going down, there for a while they were running over 100 a day. And now we're down, in the 30s and 40s a day and hospitalizations are down. So that's good, the vaccinations are up, all the factors you would hope are happening. What I worry about though, is another variant that comes and dodges the vaccine, you hear a lot of different things. And I just don't know when the end is really the end. 

READ MORE: 99  people hospitalized with COVID-19 in District 8 Tuesday, up from 98 Monday

Hren: Now we're hearing more about the booster shot. What have you heard and what should we know?

Bennett: I always tell people call your family doctor. In Vigo County though, if you want some general questions answered, you can always call the health department and so I'm not hearing a lot about them. But I think the focus right now is just continuing to get people who have not been vaccinated, at least get one shot. And once again, if you're concerned about that, please call your family doctor because they're going to be best to tell you whether you know that they feel it's going to be effective.

So those numbers continue to go up in Vigo County, we're over 50% now. So we've made some progress there. I still say there's a whole bunch of people out there that have had COVID and they got the antibodies. And so they're protected, too. So I think every day, we keep making that general number of unprotected people smaller.

Hren: Are there any city incentives for employees there in Terre Haute to get the vaccination?

Bennett: No, not done that. I'm just kind of waiting to see this rule that comes out from OSHA from President Biden's executive order because obviously we have more than 100 employees. And we're going to have to negotiate with our unions. And I've got some work ahead of me to do on that.

Hren: Are there any city departments hurting with the labor shortage due to contracting COVID, and then having to quarantine?

Bennett: No. Last year, we had a few little cycles, the fire department got hit pretty hard last year, but not in this cycle of this delta variant. We've really kept people apart on the job as much as we can anyway, we don't have them congregating at lunch together. And so I think that's helped a lot. That's obviously harder to do in city hall.

But, we've not had a lot of foot traffic in. I think we're just a little smarter. And we're all taking our precautions, which is keeping that from happening.

Rocksino Terre Haute exterior
Proposed Rocksino Terre Haute exterior

Hren: The deadline to apply for the new Terre Haute casino license has passed. Now the state will decide November 17 which which company will get to open that casino. I believe four companies have applied including the Terre Haute based Lucy Luck Gaming. Have you had a chance to look over the four? I know this is not something that you are deciding, but as mayor, you have a very big interest into this. Do any four of those stand out to you? And why?

Bennett: No, I think generally speaking, they're all good proposals. Our preference is just to stick with the local guy, Greg Gibson, who is in a partnership with Hard Rock. That's one of the four. And we just think that's the best fit. One we think the Hard Rock brand is top notch, and to the fact that Greg would be is directly involved with that proposal, because he's just done so much for the community previously and continues to do today.

But as you said, we have very little input into this, the state awards the license for the Gaming Commission. But they know the inside information that we don't know. And so all we know is this is what it would look like if we get the job. We'd love for a first class casino to come here that's going to draw a lot of people and make them money and bring some local dollars back here. We just would like to see this process come to a close.

terre-haute-police-department.jpg
Bennett says the old police station will be town down and redeveloped. (Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News file photo)

Hren: I hear the new police station opening or ribbon cutting is Friday, and then they move in Monday. Something we've been covering with Bloomington is what some are calling a dire need for more police officers. Some say that the police department in Bloomington is understaffed, overworked, underpaid. The city says it's hiring more unarmed personnel to help and hiring officers just isn't what it used to be. Can you relate to that at all there in Terre Haute?

Bennett: Our numbers are staying generally the same. We've had a lot of retirements and we'll continue to have retirements in the future. But we bring new officers on, we try to keep our staffing right at about the level where we've had it for over the last five or six years, basically maybe seven years now. So I'm not seeing a big change there.

We're not changing the way we do our police thing, we kind of changed a few years ago. We're not reacting to anything. And I feel that we're staffed about right. We did have to increase the public safety budget a little bit this year to pay for the body cams. We covered the cost last year through some other funding sources, but we put it into the police department budget for this year. And so we had to add an extra $200,000 to the budget to be able to cover those costs.

We bought new police cars and things like that, that we've kind of put off for a while just because of property tax caps and everything else. But we're kind of holding the line on our spending there. And we've increased it just a tiny bit. But I think it's well spent money.

Hren: It sounds like retention is decent there in Terre Haute, you tribute that to salaries? Is it perks?

Bennett: I think it depends on the officer, there's some that having a perk of a having a take home car is a big deal. Others, they'd rather see more money going into retirement or us covering other costs. The younger people the salary is pretty good for them, and we've been able to raise it up some. The older guys and gals that have been on for a long time are happy where they're at, and they're just trying to make that decision when they go.

I do worry about the pool of people coming in the future, though our numbers cycle through every time we put out a call for applicants. And that's been an issue for us. And it was not so bad last time. But who knows what the future holds to replace those officers as they do retire. And we do lose a few to other departments. We get them trained, they go through the Academy, they come here spend a year, and there are some police departments that are paying a lot more than we do. So we do lose a few that way too.

Former Tribune-Star building
File photo of the former Tribune-Star building, new police department (Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)

Hren: We are about out of time, but I know there's some paving projects and a READI grant that you've been wrapping up?

Bennett: We're down to the last really two paving projects other than the city hall parking lot. We still have some paving to do - we're going to do South First Street this week. And then next week, we've got a couple of streets in Robinwood where we got a drainage project out there and put in new storm drains and curbs.

So all told, we spent about $2.8 million on paving in the city of Terre Haute this year then we did the $8 million Lafayette Avenue project. But I think we've had a pretty good year on road infrastructure. So I'm happy with that - it's a drop in the bucket in the big scheme of things. We just can't pave fast enough. But we've spent more than we've ever spent in any single year, just on street paving.

The READI grant was submitted back on September 30. It's $300 million worth of public and private projects, economic development activity. And we requested $73 million from the state as the match for that.

So despite of COVID, we're getting a lot of things done here. The budget is passed, nine to nothing last week. We're about $110 million budget, $2 million revenue over expenses. Feel really good about the budget, the council did too, so that's behind us.

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