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Ask The Mayor: Terre Haute’s Duke Bennett

Duke Bennett

Reporter Jimmy Jenkins sat down with Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett who responds to allegations of misused taxes.

Listen to their full conversation above. Here are some highlights:

Jenkins: The board of public works approved funding for a city financial consultant, do you still think this is an unnecessary expense of city money?

Bennett: A lot of this stuff is just hype and politics, we’ve gone through some tough times due to property tax caps but this is the first year we turned the corner and actually making some positive gains. It’s a little frustrating because we’re on the same team here and we need to be working together to solve the problems and hiring a third financial consultant isn’t going to reach any new conclusions.

Jenkins: Tell us about the law you’re trying to be in compliance with that changed the way you did some accounting here.

Bennett: It really has to do with the TIF district. I was opposed to that TIF legislation, it’s hurt our downtown legacy TIF, it’s put an expiration date on it now. Part of this law requires the city administration to then begin managing the funds of the redevelopment commission. So we have until July 1st to be fully compliant with it and we’re going to get ourselves in that position. So the biggest change is the city controller is responsible for the finances and they will have to submit a budget to the city council for approval.

Jenkins: You feel it’s appropriate to use that money, while it’s in there, to pay city expenses?

Bennett: All of the revenues go into our cash account and it’s been that way since 2005, we’ve not changed anything at all about our system of financial management. All we’ve done now is merge those accounts together, streamline the process based on state board of account recommendations.

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