For this month only, the THYL lunch meeting was held at the Ohio Building. We were excited to have Mayor Duke Bennett join us and share this year’s City Update. For those that were not able to join, here are the highlights from his presentation:
- In review of 2017 city finances, the mayor stated that finances continue to improve with a general fund balance estimated as positive $1.2 million. Mayor Bennett addressed some concerns with the tax anticipated loans that the city takes out twice a year by explaining that they are necessary to bridge the gap between income received bi-annually from the state.
- In review of 2017 initiatives and projects, there were several positives including progress on several road projects and some funding approved for more. Crime rates appear to have continued to drop and the Terre Haute Regional Airport was recognized as “Airport of the Year” by the Aviation Association of Indiana. There is concern about the city-run golf courses as they are currently losing money every year and the mayor mentioned that several different plans are being considered to keep them open.
- Looking to 2018 finances, the mayor anticipates a stable financial environment with minimal debt. A 5% sewer rate increase became effective January 1st. The mayor explained that these recent increases are tied directly to the cost of upgrading the city’s system to keep up with EPA guidelines. He mentioned frustrations with assessed property values for many of the city’s commercial properties. He believes they are currently being greatly undervalued. Additionally, the mayor opined that continued difficulties with the general budget are a result of funding being lowered by property tax caps that were added to the state constitution in 2010.
- The 2018 project list is extensive with road projects like the Margaret Avenue overpass, Phase II of the sewage system update, and new drainage on SR 46 among several others.
- Anticipated economic development in the new year includes the River Front Lofts on the Wabash River, Select Genetics, three local companies that are working on expansions, and several other opportunities. The Mayor also mentioned the excitement around opportunities coming out of Launch Terre Haute and possible defense development in our area.
- 2018 key initiatives on the mayor’s list included a food and beverage tax for the city, casino legislation, continued efforts for a new convention center and taking the final steps in starting work on a new police station. In closing, he mentioned his desires to see improvements in workforce development in Terre Haute as he believes it is one of the current difficulties in bringing new companies to the area.
The mayor finished with a Q&A session as members inconspicuously brushed cookie crumbs off their laps. Great food, a little networking, and some pertinent information on our city makes for a great lunch.
Look for additional events with local city, county and regional leaders who want to share what is happening with Young Leaders in the community. As a member, you are always encouraged and welcome to attend City Council, County Council, and other government meetings.
County Council Meeting Schedule is available here
All meetings are held at the Vigo County Government Center in the Vigo County Council Chambers, 127 Oak Street, Terre Haute, Indiana 47807 unless otherwise noted. All meetings of the full Council be at 6:00 p.m.
City Council Meeting Schedule can be downloaded here
Note that there are o Regular Meetings each month. All meetings to be held at 6:00 PM in the City Hall Courtroom unless otherwise indicated.