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Ask The Mayor: Bennett On City Budget Progress

Duke Bennett, Terre Haute

The mayor's meeting with Governor-elect Holcomb, budget deficit, riverfront residential development, Vigo Co. jail proposal and Miracle on 7th Street parade.

On this week's installment of Ask The Mayor, Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett addresses these issues and more. 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: We haven't been here since October due to election day last month, though we talked about the election before and you were hoping for the Trump-Pence administration because you wanted change, what change are you hoping for in 2017?

Bennett: I'm looking at that economic side as a big driving factor. I would love to see us unleash the economy, get government out of the way. I understand we need government regulations, but I think we need to start moving the other direction and using common sense creating jobs in the United States. So whether it's EPA regulations or others, we need to free up the economy and right here in Terre Haute, there's a lot of opportunity.

Hren: Have you been able to talk with governor-elect Eric Holcomb?

Bennett: We chatted about several different things. Trying to get his take on regional cities, community crossings money and things going on here in Terre Haute to bring him up to speed... our Hulman Center project, our 641 bypass getting ready to open and visiting many different state related topics.

Hren: Let's get up to speed on the budget, what did you do to balance the 2017 budget and work on the deficit?

Bennett: Two critical things, we got the trash fee earlier this year and getting the sanitation rate increase, sewer rate increase to increase our revenues to pay for these next projects. It's a two phase increase, between 22 and 23 percent. So I expect our general fund will be in the positive, about $500,000 of excess revenue that will go against our deficit, next year it will be about a $1 million and if any other revenue sources were to come in then we'll be able to eliminate that deficit.

Hren: How big is that deficit you're carrying over?

Bennett: Well we carried over this year was about $8.9 million in the general fund, so we expect it to be $8.4 million or a little less than that.

Hren: Is road construction over for the season or is there more to come?

Bennett: We're really excited about Margaret Avenue, the bids recently came back underbid which is great for us, we're going to save a little money. Utility relocation will happen next from 14th or Canal Road out to 25th Street. The overpass will go in at 19th and Margaret so construction will get underway next spring.

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