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T.H. Mayor Bennett: Some Layoffs Still Likely in Budget Process

As he nears the end of budget talks, Terre Haute’s mayor says he does not expect large-scale job cuts to keep the city in the black.  But the mayor Wednesday would not rule out the possibility that some layoffs may still be necessary.

With just a few departmental budgets left to review, Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett says he hasn’t seen one yet which mandates pink slips as a means toward profitability.  Still, speaking on WFIU’s “Ask the Mayor,” Bennett used guarded optimism to characterize his view of how the rest of what’s been a topsy-turvy budget process will go.

“It’s looking like it’s stabilizing a little bit,” Bennett said. “I’m feeling a tiny bit better.  When you’re losing 23% of your income from your budget, that’s pretty significant.”

A Moving Target

Still, Bennett conceded it’s likely that simply losing jobs to attrition won’t be enough to account for such a significant drop in revenue.

“I think that we may have a few positions that we’ll have to cut back,” the mayor said. “Once again, I just can’t figure the number yet, because we don’t have the bottom line of our budget.  I’m not trying to be evasive at all, it’s just such a moving target.”

Bennett said some departments have almost nothing left to cut, using staffing at the street department as an example.  The mayor says the current 35-employee workforce is less than half of what it was just a few mayoral administrations ago.

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