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Ask The Mayor: Terre Haute's Bennett Talks Downtown Parking

Duke Bennett

The mayor talks about a million dollars being inappropriately moved within city accounts, water contaminant testing along the Wabash River and area holiday traditions.

On this week's installment of Ask The Mayor, Mayor Duke Bennett addresses these issues and more. Listen to the full conversation with Indiana Newsdesk producer James Gray by clicking on the play button above, or read some of the questions and answers below.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

Gray: It’s been a month since being re-elected, as you begin your next mayoral term any changes in your staff?

Bennett: I don't anticipate any significant changes. Every four years you go through the cycle where you talk to your department heads again, you make sure they want to serve again.

Gray: There was an interesting article in the Tribune Star last week about more than a million dollars being inappropriately moved from a redevelopment account Tuesday, but they were restored by Wednesday. What happened there?

Bennett: As we manage the funds, we move money around and I would have preferred not to have touched that particular fund. They did, and we just moved it back. And so we're going to make sure we don't do that in the future. We have twenty some bank accounts that we move money in between but there's one there we really don't want to touch. It wasn't any big deal, it was the fact that they've done it and we immediately put those funds back.

Gray: It looks like the city is also looking at adjusting parking regulations downtown, changing some areas to 2-hour parking, is this in response to the addition of more student housing downtown?

Bennett: A little bit. It's really a part of there's been a lot of changes downtown over the last several years and we haven't updated the code. So now you have students on top of that who are living downtown so it pushed us to the point to look at all the ordinances. We want to make sure we're turning people over, we don't want students parking down there for 24 hour periods when people are trying to shop.

Gray: There was an amendment to reduce the general fund budget by $2 million – at what expense would that come from?

Bennett: It's across the board. It may be $10 here and $100,000 there. When we put this budget together a year ago last October, we put our best estimate together, we try not to spend all those funds. When it gets to the end of the year, those expenditures we did not need to spend all that money, we reduce the budget by that amount.

Gray: The holidays are approaching quickly, any traditions here in Terre Haute that people could come and be part of?

Bennett: Deming Park is a huge draw for us. All the shelters are decorated out there, that's a big deal. People bring their families and drive through the park. It's really a wonderful event that goes on all month.

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