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Terre Haute Mayor

Term length: 4 yearsDuties: Enforce the ordinances of the city and the statutes of the state.Ensure efficient government of the city.Sign all bonds, deeds, and contracts of the city and all licenses issued by the city.Provide any information regarding city affairs that the city council requests.Recommend, in writing, to the city council actions that they consider proper.Call special meetings of the city council when necessary.Approve or veto ordinances, orders, and resolutions of the city council.Provide a statement of the finances and general condition of the city to the city legislative body (city council) at least once a year.Fill vacancies in city offices. Appoint the head of each department, and a city controller, a city civil engineer, a corporation council, a chief of the fire department, a chief of the police department and other officers, employees, boards and commissions required by statute.Subject to approval of the city council, fix the compensation of each appointive officer, deputy, and other employee of the city.Supervise subordinate officers.At least once a month, meet with the officers in charge of city departments.Meet with the department heads and the fiscal officer to review and revise their various estimates of department heads of the money required to run their departments. Salary: $91,759.82Incumbent: Duke Bennett

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  • Duke A. Bennett
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Pat Goodwin
    (I)

  • Shane M. Meehan
    (I)

  • Candidate picture

    Karrum J. Nasser
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

Describe the kind of leadership do you believe Terre Haute needs and how you will you provide that leadership.

What, in your view, is the next necessary step for the city’s finances and why?

Various projects have been proposed related to local economic development (including but not limited to a casino, convention center, downtown planning, riverfront development). Please describe your vision for economic development in Terre Haute, including how any or all of these projects fit into your plan.

What measures, if any, would you propose to increase the quality of life in our community and/or to ensure that quality of life reaches all community members?

What do you see as the order of priorities for new and improved infrastructure in our community, and how do you propose each of those be funded?

What is your philosophy as to subsidizing business and industry, e.g. tax increment districts, tax abatements, public/private partnerships, development bonding, etc.?

Campaign (Public) Email Address bennettformayor@gmail.com
Education Ivy Tech - AS Indiana Wesleyan - BS
Occupational history and current position Applied Computing Devices Hamilton Center City of Terre Haute
Other public or political offices held, and when Mayor 2008-2019
Other past candidacy for public office Mayor only
Terre Haute continues to need leadership that brings people together to collaborate on projects and strategies that lead us forward. The city is experiencing a period of very good economic activity with numerous projects and activities that will help to improve our community. I would continue that effort through servant leadership and partnerships with all individuals, organizations, and levels of government required to achieve positive outcomes.
After experiencing a significant loss of revenue over the past ten years, my administration has balanced the overall city budget for four straight years (2016-19). We have eliminated all but two deficit funds (and we are working on fixing them), continue to pay our bills in a timely fashion, continue to reduce temporary borrowing and have begun to identify specific levels of cash reserves we are working to accumulate.

We have clearly "weathered the storm" and are moving into a cycle of investing in our community through quality of life initiatives.
The economic development activities here must include both the growth of existing businesses along with a continued diversification of our local economy. Manufacturing, retail, tourism, healthcare, education, federal government activities, etc. are all significant economic engines and we must help them all to be successful by providing good infrastructure, a qualified workforce, etc.

The specific focus on defense development that we are currently undertaking will lead to higher paying jobs and a draw for talent to the area. This is the kind of specific diversity we need to develop and grow our economic opportunities.

Regional planning and strategic execution will also lead to a positive impact on the entire region which will lead to additional state and federal grants that then deliver further investments to support local business growth.
"Quality of life" of a community can have many definitions. Generally I believe it is a combination of a low cost of living, being safe from crime, has ongoing efforts to keep it clean, has great educational facilities, provides jobs at all necessary income levels, invests in amenities that deliver a diversity of entertainment and exercise opportunities, along with a strategic plan and vision to bring "all" people together.

A great quality of life will lead people to stay or come to Terre Haute to live, work and play.
We must continue to invest in our aging sanitary sewer collection system, create new storm water collection systems, pave our streets, and replace existing sidewalks (while also adding new ones) to ensure we have solid infrastructure to serve the community.

These activities will primarily be funded through a combination of EDIT (income tax), TIF (property tax), sewage fees, and both state & federal grants.
It is imperative that we compete for business with a variety of incentives and assistance in our economic development "tool box". If we don't use them, everyone else will and that will put us at a significant disadvantage. We must always hold all recipients of incentives or assistance accountable to deliver their end of the deal.
Campaign (Public) Email Address info@goodwinforterrehaute.com
Campaign Phone (812) 316-5492
Twitter @GoodwinforTH
Education Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; Terre Haute North Vigo High School; Woodrow Wilson Junior High School; Lost Creek Elementary School
Occupational history and current position Owner, Tractor Tools Direct, Inc., 2013 to present; Chief Operating Officer, Sisters of Providence, 2011-2013; Owner, Goodwin Design Concepts LLC, 2008 to present; City Engineer, Terre Haute, 1999-2003, 2004-2007
Other public or political offices held, and when President, Thralls Station Regional Sewer District, 2011-2013; President, Terre Haute Board of Sanitary Commissioners, 2000-2003, 2004-2007; Area Plan Commission, 1999-2003, 2004-2007
Other past candidacy for public office none
We need leadership that provides a long-term vision and a path for achieving it. We have community plans but haven’t enacted them. My leadership style is to set goals, provide direction, and empower all to reach them. It means being supportive. It means putting tax dollars where they achieve goals. It means collaborating with all community leaders. Leadership finds better paths. It does not give in to old habits.

Leaders need to look beyond the next election. City priorities must not be set through “management by crisis” but by steady execution of a plan. Alongside our community, I will lead the effort to set priorities, looking ahead 5, 10, 20 years - priorities that bring energy and excitement.

The buck stops at the mayor’s desk. You expect your mayor to enact community plans and be a good steward of taxpayer money. You expect your mayor to act without excuses. I expect you to hold me accountable. I am eager to put my leadership skills to work for you. Action, not words.
In 2018 alone, the city paid one person as a financial consultant over $200,000 to help keep the city’s books. And yet, it has been well over a year since the city council has had current financial data. As of April 4, 2019, the 2018 financials are still not available. This is unacceptable and must end immediately. We can’t solve the city’s financial troubles until we have a complete and up-to-date picture of revenues and expenditures.

Once these costly and clearly ineffective services are ended, we can properly staff and train a controller’s department, straighten out the books and provide timely financial data to the city council so it can make informed decisions. At the same time, we can provide that same information to the general public, so that taxpayers have the ability to see how their money is being spent.
A mayor’s job is to create a place where businesses will want to locate and can thrive. Studies show that successful mid-sized communities need to provide quality of life to do that. We must invest in ourselves. I will fund and support cleaning up our city, improving roads and sidewalks, providing amenities like Riverscape, parks, and trails, supporting local arts and culture, and providing incentives for small businesses and startups.

The mayor should also meet regularly with major employers to learn how to support their success. We often take our existing employers for granted. Let’s work with them to ensure Terre Haute remains their chosen business location. Let’s help them convince corporate offices that our city is the best place for their next expansion.

I want our children to become our next business owners and leaders in Terre Haute. Let’s provide what will encourage them to stay here. This can be done without adding new taxes and fees. We must re-prioritize and re-allocate.
Economic development and quality of life are intricately linked. We will not have one without the other. Businesses locate where there is good quality of life for their employees. In the last ten years we have seen a decline in city government’s quality of life efforts. Parks funding has dropped by 20%. No new trails or bike lanes have been developed, despite a plan that says they should be. Sidewalks and streets are crumbling. There is no coherent plan to reduce litter and abandoned properties. No assistance has been provided by the city to Riverscape, a crucial quality of life initiative. Arts and culture funding lacks support. The Human Relations Department has one employee, which is inadequate to support the marginalized of our community.

I will support and provide adequate funding for these efforts.

These quality of life measures will enhance the lives of every resident, help retain our young people, and attract new residents and businesses.
With 430 miles of streets and 330 miles of sidewalks, we should spend about $4 million per year to maintain them. In recent years, the city has spent less than half that. Proper funding for streets and sidewalks will be a top priority.

Grant money is available for major projects like overpasses, trails, and road improvements. We must have the discipline to set aside matching money in advance. We must also have projects that are designed and “shovel-ready” to compete for this money.

Funding for infrastructure can be increased by reducing costs in other areas, not by new taxes or fees. We must: End exorbitant fees to attorneys and accountants for work city staff should do. Freeze non-essential new hires. Allow retirements to reduce staffing until we can determine what is needed and how technology can support staffing needs. Find savings through consolidation with overlapping county functions. End short-term borrowing, which cost the city over $300,000 in interest in 2017 alone.
Tax abatements should be granted only when the increased assessed value grows the local economy without competing with other local business. An abatement for the addition of new technology that adds employees and helps a company compete globally is good. An abatement for new construction that will compete with other businesses in our community is unfair.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts serve a purpose. They fund development of planned infrastructure in a growing area. Using them that way helps ensure development is orderly and functional for the public. Too often they’ve been used for questionable purposes or borrowed to cash flow the city’s general fund. I oppose such abuses of TIF funds.

We must support business creation. We can do this through financial support of business incubators, microloans and grants for new startups, providing physical space for new business for prototyping and concept testing. These incentives must require that they stay here once established.
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Campaign (Public) Email Address info@karrumnasser.com
Campaign Phone (812) 298-6782
Twitter @KarrumN
Education Indiana State University 1995
Occupational history and current position Director of Sales LaQuinta Inn
Other public or political offices held, and when Current City Councilman District 3
Terre Haute is in need of a new generation of leadership, pragmatic leaders who are willing and able to drive progress, accelerating growth to match and exceed the national economy. This really gets down to inspiring hope among the citizens of the community, most importantly the underserved members who are struggling to make ends meet and feel that they have been left behind. It's been said that leaders don't get people to believe in them, leaders find ways to get people to believe in themselves.
When I ran for city council four years ago the headlines read " City on the brink ". Through hard work, we have been able to get our finances moving in the right direction. There is still work to be done. Long term structural challenges to the city’s finances are going to take time to resolve. Attacking these issues begins with three distinct activities. First a complete review of the city government’s spending priorities must be executed in an objective fashion, this review must look at each department for waste driving more efficient management of resources. Second, establish a new set of priorities for the city driving public/private partnerships that facilitate economic development. Most important, an open and transparent discussion to make the citizens understand where we are and where we need to be.
With each initiative a thoughtful but timely process must be undertaken to understand its cost/risk vs benefit aspects to the community. The convention center will provide a strong magnet for medium sized conventions and business events, driving a strong flow of business professionals through downtown Terre Haute, with the right enticements, the indirect financial impact will drive new local jobs. Studies have shown that on the low end the casino could drive 800,000 visitors to Terre Haute a year, it will additionally provide direct revenue to the city and will entice business owners to start and expand new food, arts and entertainment venues. Understanding and accounting for additional city services and the social impact of such a venue will be critical, but it is my belief that if the people of our city agree to the building of such a venue that the overall impact will be positive to the city and the region as a whole.
I’ll start with diverse economic development as it is a key activity that unlocks both individual and city revenue to facilitate more quality of life centered programs. Driving an improved quality of life is important to keeping existing and enticing more upwardly mobile professionals and tradespeople to live in Terre Haute, it is also is key to making Terre Haute a vibrant city for local/longtime residents. In order for the city to have a real impact on the quality of life in our community we must drive balanced diverse economic development first. By diverse economic development, I mean broad based jobs that require a employees of all types and skill levels paired with the availability of programs that enable the most undeserved the ability to gain employment with skills that align to the modern economy and more specifically the jobs that come into our community from further economic development.

On one level, the infrastructure of a city can be viewed simply as the sum of its streets, sidewalks, parks, and playgrounds. But on a deeper, far more important level the built environment is about people and the opportunity they have to build a better life. Indeed, infrastructure is the literal foundation for much of what we all strive for: rewarding jobs, safe neighborhoods, quality education, strong communities, and good health. To me, infrastructure is also an issue of equity – and it’s one where the city is failing both profoundly and unnecessarily. You don’t have to look far to notice that the quality of the infrastructure varies dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood. In certain neighborhoods, streets, sidewalks and potholes go unrepaired for years while other areas enjoy the many economic and quality of life benefits that quality infrastructure provides.
A balanced approach that is focused on the bottom line benefit to the citizens and overall tax revenue with a longer term view to growth is my primary focus. We must use any and all resources to be competitive with our communities throughout the state and region.