News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 9, 2014

City Council opens year by electing officers

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The Terre Haute City Council elected Councilwoman Amy Auler, D-1st, to serve as council president in 2014 and John Mullican, D-6th, to serve as vice president.

Auler served as council vice president last year with outgoing president, Norm Loudermilk, D-3rd. Members of the council typically elect a new president and vice president each January.

Normally, council vice presidents step into the role of president after a year. Mullican, speaking after Thursday night’s “sunshine” meeting in City Hall, said he would like to serve as council president next year.

Mullican last served as council president in 2011, the most recent election year for city offices. Next year will also be an election year for all nine council members, the mayor, the city clerk and the city judge.

Auler, speaking after the meeting, said she plans no big changes in how the council conducts its business. She also plans to continue the system, put in place by Loudermilk, in which each council member works directly with a specific city department head.

“I believe in all of us working together,” she said.

Council presidents conduct council meetings and appoint members of council committees.

n The City Council learned Thursday night that Eddie Bird, superintendent of the Terre Haute Department of Parks and Recreation, has added the role of cemetery superintendent to his duties. Bird takes over the post from Lennie Snyder, whose role of director of facilities maintenance has been expanded beyond City Hall to other city-owned properties, said Mayor Duke Bennett, reached after the meeting. Synder will also coordinate city bulk purchases as a way to cut costs, Bennett said.

Despite supervising the parks and cemetery departments, Bird will be working at the same salary, city officials said at Thursday night’s meeting.

The move allows the city to pay some of Synder’s salary from a nonreverting account in the Engineering Department, Bennett said. That will take pressure off the cemetery budget, which was marked for a reduction last year by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance. That agency required the city to cut the cemetery budget by 12 percent or about $74,000. This move gets the cemetery budget “really close to where we need to be,” Bennett said.

n The council also considered two rezoning requests within the city: One at Seventh Street and Margaret Avenue and the other near 13th and Hulman streets. Both requests would change lots currently zoned for residential use into commercially zoned lots. Neither site currently contains housing, and each is adjacent to commercial properties.

The property at Seventh and Margaret is adjacent to the site of a former veterinarian business on the southeast corner of the intersection. The property at 13th and Hulman has previously been used to park heavy equipment for a local plumbing business. If the rezoning is approved, the property would be used as a parking area for Guarantee Roofing, according to a company official speaking at the meeting. Guarantee is seeking to acquire the property, he said.

The council is expected to vote on these and other matters at its regular January meeting, which is set for 6 p.m. Thursday in City Hall.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or