Two Discussions Leave Many Unanswered Questions

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Two big questions remained unanswered after hours of discussion at Thursday’s City Council meeting. 

One we’ve heard for months, the police pension fund. 

The other? 

A new state mandate requiring a big financial reduction from the city’s general fund.

“I’m looking at our budget and I think it’d be pretty hard for us to absorb $8 million without doing some pretty hard work that might include some personnel issues,” says Martha Crossen. 

“How is anyone getting away with that?” asks George Azar. “If it’s against state law to being with…how did it happen?” 

Two big questions remain on the surface Thursday night.

Many pentioneers took the podium to address both the council and listening members of the public. 

“There’s a law governing this pension,” says John Tyler. “It’s rather simple. Put it away somewhere, leave it alone.” 

“I feel that police work is a calling,” says George Ralston. “Not everybody can do it and we’re just after some consideration for a pension.” 

“The reason we’ve got this amendment in front of you right now is because we don’t trust the mayor to abide by the law,” says a retired police chief. “So we’re asking you to do it.”   

After much deliberation questions and comments, the council came to a decision to table it. 

The police pension fund issue will come back to the table at the September sunshine meeting. 

They’ve hoped this extension will allow all parties ample time to discuss a way to resolve the issue. 

Mayor Duke Bennett and the city controller were not in attendance to dispute any of the claims, which is also another reason council members hope this lapse in time will help get everyone on the same page. 

Even in the mayor’s absence, city council members still asked questions in regards to the budget and it’s projected cuts. 

“I’d like to know what process he went through or the administration went through with department heads with the 2018 budget preparations?” asks Crossen.  

“This is a case where I think we’ve kind of been, for a lack of a better word, dooped,” says Azar. “So I think we need to get some answers here. It’s time.” 

Both the budget and police pension fund discussions are not over, but City Council President Karuum Nasser says he’s hopeful that a month’s time will give all  parties a moment to gather their thoughts and fix these issues.  

“We’re going to give them one more chance (the administration) to kinda work out an agreement and then if not, then we’ll just action as a council next month,” says Nasser.  

The sunshine meeting for the Terre Haute City Council will be help at City Hall on September 7th

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