Ask The Mayor

Thursdays at 12 p.m. on AM 920 and 105.9 FM, with a repeat at 7 p.m.
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Each week, WBAA's news team chats with the mayor of a West Central Indiana community on Ask The Mayor. It's a discussion about the most pressing civic and social issues of the day and a chance to let citizens get to know their elected leaders a little better.

E-mail questions for any of the mayors to ask@wbaa.org.

Ask The Mayor airs live Thursdays at 12 p.m. on WBAA News (AM 920 and 105.9 FM) and is rebroadcast the same evening at 7.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

t’s getting harder for leaders of Indiana cities to predict how much their municipal construction projects are going to cost. A lack of trained workers in the state has left construction firms in high demand – and with the ability to charge rates much higher than in the past. So as the City of West Lafayette signs off on documents proclaiming its renovation of the Morton Center into its new city hall will cost $13 million, how much can those numbers really be trusted?

WBAA News

It’s been a year of raucous debate in Montgomery County – about wind farms, confined feeding operations and about the lawmakers who make the decisions. Much of it is separate from the workings of the city of Crawfordsville, but it has an effect on the way public discourse is conducted throughout the county.

This week, on our last Ask The Mayor program of 2019, we talk to Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton about the tone of those talks and about whether such business needs to be put to bed more quickly.

courtesy City of Frankfort

While Frankfort leaders are hoping to draw more people to the area this holiday season for winter festivities, they’re also faced with a problem: where all those people are going to park, especially as year-round residents get frosty about wanting to share those same spaces.

So on this week’s Ask The Mayor program, we’ll chat with Chris McBarnes about what his city’s remedy might be. Some cities have installed parking meters, while others, such as Lafayette and West Lafayette, have chosen more passive – but more costly – forms of enforcement.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

The City of Lafayette is following the lead of its western neighbor by beginning work on a climate change resolution. It’s a drafting process that could take most of 2020 to complete, but then what happens? The same challenges exist in both cities, chief among them: how to enforce something that’s non-binding and (if it’s to have any teeth at all), asks for some slightly audacious things?

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

The weather outside may not yet be frightful, but as cities prepare for it, there’s snow business like snow business. The City of West Lafayette hopes to stay frosty as it freezes drivers out of parking on some major streets when icy precipitation beckons.

And even if motorists can’t melt the hearts of parking enforcement officers, the city must still thaw out its thoroughfares. However, environmentalists have become increasingly salty in recent years about the standard methods of doing that, which they point out raises the salinity of nearby waterways. So what else beats a wintry mix?

Well…beets.

WBAA News

Four years ago, when Crawfordsville won one of the state’s Stellar Communities awards, its art deco downtown Ben-Hur Building was one of the centerpieces.

Since then, though, it’s been plagued with delays, including changes in the contracting firm that’ll refurbish it. Now, the city says it’ll use tax increment financing to help push the project forward, but how much will that cost taxpayers – and is the amount more than it would have been four years ago?

courtesy City of Frankfort

In February, WBAA held a public forum in Frankfort which asked residents, in part: What's the "thing" that the city should be known for?

The most workable answer then seemed to be drawing in more visitors when the annual Festival of Lights show goes up each winter.

On this week's Ask The Mayor, we talk with Mayor Chris McBarnes about how his city has doubled down on trying to become just such a cold weather cash cow.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis garnered three-quarters of the vote in this week’s election, propelling him to a fourth term in office. Barring unforeseen circumstances, it’ll make him the second-longest-serving chief executive in the city’s history. And in his next four years, there are a number of projects to complete. This week on WBAA’s Ask The Mayor, we check in on the Chauncey Hill Mall, Morton Center and others.

WBAA News

When Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton reconstituted his city’s defunct Human Rights Commission, it was seen as a chance to adjudicate some lingering issues concerning different types of prejudice in the city.

But since, meetings have become scarce – and this week a member of the commission sent a letter to Mayor Barton, and to WBAA, signaling her displeasure with the actions of the board and her intention to resign from it.

courtesy City of Frankfort

At the beginning of this year, WBAA held a public forum in Frankfort asking residents what amenities they wanted to see in town, and also asking this question: is there a single signature feature around which an identity could be built?

This week on WBAA’s Ask The Mayor, we ask Chris McBarnes whether he might be able to turn recent difficulties with recycling into an opportunity as the waste disposal industry tries to re-evaluate its future. In a manufacturing-heavy city such as Frankfort, it might make sense.

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