City Leaders Address Fears Over Financial Future

By Katie Hargitt

Published 07/10 2014 09:41PM

Updated 07/10 2014 11:46PM

The city of Terre Haute has lost more than $10 million in tax revenue since the property tax caps were passed in 2008. But that's not the only problem city leaders are facing.

" In 2008 we had a positive general fund balance and now we are looking just a few years later at a negative balance," said Terre Haute City Councilman, Neil Garrison. "I think we need to make some adjustments, move beyond a reason or an excuse and start solving this financial problem."

Terre Haute City Council recently hired a financial consultant to help them sort out their own questions about the city's budget. That consultant projects the city's general fund will have a negative balance of more than $7 million at the end of 2014. Amid these financial troubles the city began moving redevelopment funds into other city bank accounts.

"I'm profoundly disappointed in our current crisis," said Redevelopment Commissioner, Cliff Lambert. "Our financial crisis in the city. I've been involved with local government finances for 42 years and I have not ever seen the kind of ineptitude."

State officials are now investigating the movement of that money. Mayor Bennett insists he and his staff are following the law set forth by Senate Bill 118.

"There's facts and then there's people just saying well I think you're doing this or I think you're doing that," Mayor Bennett said. "We are paying all of our bills. We are doing everything we are supposed to do, we are doing it by the book, by the laws of the state of Indiana. Some people don't like that or want us to do it differently but that's their opinion."

State officials have ordered city leaders not to talk about the use of TIF money because of the current investigation. There is no timeline on when that will be complete.

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