John Dennis

City of West Lafayette

Economic development is tricky business.

Is it worthwhile to bring in a big-name company, but only create a few jobs, or is it better to create handfuls of jobs at a time at new supermarkets and gas stations? Just how much can one high-profile company improve a city’s chances of landing similar developments in the future?

We put those questions West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis this week on Ask The Mayor.

Purdue Research Foundation

Rolls-Royce has announced plans to build a 40,000-square foot facility at Purdue. The company is the first tenant in the university research park’s newly-established Aerospace District.

401(K) 2012 / https://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/

The West Lafayette budget is expected to increase by $1.7 million next year --an approximately 9 percent raise -- but city officials say that's not likely to raise property taxes.

City Clerk-Treasurer Judy Rhodes says even though the 2016 budget indicates a small increase in the city's property tax rate and a decrease in its total assessed value, it's standard practice to overestimate taxes and underestimate property values in order to give flexibility to a city's ever-changing budget.

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

INDOT is examining whether Walsh Construction’s actions may have played a factor in last week’s I-65 bridge closing.

INDOT Bridge Design Manager Jeremy Hunter says the sinking of the bridge that led to last week’s second closure came after Walsh inspectors deemed the bridge safe for travel.

“When we talked to Walsh, they had surveyed the pier and hadn’t recorded any settlement that we knew of at that time,” Hunter says. “And so, between the time that we installed those temporary supports and the time we closed the bridge on Friday, there had been substantial settlement.”

City of West Lafayette / http://westlafayette.in.gov/

Last month we took West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis to task a little bit about how he planned to spend money in his political war chest in a year where he doesn’t have an opponent. This month, we’ll take that line of questioning a little further and look ahead to 2016.

In a time of rampant partisanship that’s turning off voters left and right, why isn’t Mayor Dennis a sensible candidate for governor?

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

The casual rider of the Hoosier State Line probably didn’t expect any changes on July 1 as an Amtrak-branded engine and set of cars rolled through Lafayette on its way to Chicago.

But instead of the red, blue and gray Amtrak paint job, passengers were supposed to see the brown and orange paint job of Iowa Pacific rolling stock.

City of West Lafayette / http://westlafayette.in.gov/

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis is assured of a third term in office after no one filed to run against him by this week’s deadline. So this month on our conversation with Mayor Dennis, we talk about leadership in Indiana – and about its intersection with ambition. If he believes he’s doing a good job here, why not go for more?

On this week’s Ask The Mayor, we also address the latest delay to Amtrak service through Greater Lafayette – and how much the cities in the area might have to pay to keep it going, even though there’s now more money from the state.

Kristin Malavenda/WBAA News

Dozens of small businesses opened across Greater Lafayette on Saturday—but just for the day.

It’s the 5th year the Greater Lafayette area participated in Lemonade Day, and, local leaders say it’s a time to get the community thinking local, especially as Lafayette and West Lafayette ponder revisions to their downtowns.

“My name is Cade and I’m 9 years old. My name is Callie and I’m 7 ½.”

Ask The Mayor: West Lafayette's John Dennis

May 7, 2015
City of West Lafayette / http://westlafayette.in.gov/

What’s it like to be mayor of a city where roughly 20,000 of your residents essentially disappear overnight? And why does it seem every year that as Purdue students leave town for the summer, the road construction crews move in?

We’ll get a rundown of the detours and traffic delays we can expect in West Lafayette over the next few months. And we’ll talk about this year’s municipal elections. How can we expect to engage voters when West Lafayette didn’t even have a primary this year?   

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

Only 31-percent of registered voters in Tippecanoe County actually voted in last year’s general election. That anemic turnout was still double what the primary election registered. Both elections were in keeping with similar trends at the state level.

The Greater Lafayette League of Women Voters, the Hanna Community Center and the group Citizens for Civil Rights are trying to address those worrying statistics by pondering an age-old problem: how to get young and minority voters more invested in politics.

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