City council spars over consultant

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) Terre Haute’s city budget was stirring up controversy at Thursday night’s city council. The issues of a financial consultant to the city council split the council in two.

In the scheme of a multi-million dollar budget, $5,000 doesn’t seem like a lot. But, Thursday a transfer of $5,000 dollars drove a wedge down the center of Terre Haute’s City council.

“I know it’s a small amount of money, but if you’re broke you don’t go on vacation. If you don’t have the money you don’t spend it,” Councilman Norm Loudermilk said.

“The council seemed to be fine with the $10,000 amount which is half of what we spent last year, but it had an issue with the $5,000,” Councilman Neil Garrison said.

The $5,000 dollars, extra money needed to pay for a city council financial consultant to help the councilmen go over the budget.

You might remember last year when they council unanimously first sought outside help. However, this year there seemed to be a little more division on the council.

“I think (the consultant) benefited all of us,” Garrison said. “I think we all agreed that it did. a lot of good information it was. It was an independent consultant so it was information that didn’t necessarily come through the mayor’s office. “

“The problem with that is this consultant will receive his information from the same location we would which is the controller’s office,” Loudermilk countered. “So if I want information about the city’s budget I go to the controller.”

In the end, the council approved $10,000 which came from city legal services. But, they would not move the extra $5,000 which would have come from their own budget.

“If they wanna find the money somewhere else that’s fine but our budget is already very thin anyway,” Loudermilk said.

“To haggle over $5000 was a little pointless,” Garrison said.

Two sides divided on the consultant issue, but both looking for answer to solve the problems of the city’s general fund.

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