TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – At least four council members say Mayor Duke Bennett needs to cut an additional $2 million from the city’s 19 funds in order for them to approve the 2017 city budget. Those council members include Earl Elliott, Martha Crossen, Karrum Nasser, and council president Todd Nation. They held a news conference today in City Hall to talk about why they believe this is necessary.
Terre Haute’s General Fund at the end of 2015 had a deficit exceeding $8.2 million dollars. These council members claim they reached an agreement with the mayor in order to eliminate the deficit. The agreement called for spending $5 million less across the city’s 19 funds over a 5 year period. Nation says the budget, as it’s crafted right now, will not accomplish this goal.
“The city will spend a million dollars more than it will take in,” Nation said.
“I just don’t think that’s responsive to the financial condition that we’re in,” Elliott said.
Nation says the additional $2 million in cuts they want must come from the mayor.
“That’s his job,” Nation said. “Listening to my fellow council members, I don’t hear much of an appetite to try to micromanage the mayor.”
“That’s a cop out,” Mayor Bennett responded. “They have every right and every responsibility” to suggest cuts to the budget.
When the council sees the budget on Thursday, they’ll see cuts the mayor said have made since their last meeting, but not in response to Wednesday’s news conference. Mayor Bennett claims his 2017 budget is “absolutely fundable” while keeping public safety funded at levels Terre Hautians have come to expect.
The council should vote one way or the other on the 2017 budget on Thursday the 27th.