Todd Barton

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

When, earlier this week, a train derailed in downtown Crawfordsville, it brought to a head some of the concerns Mayor Todd Barton has lodged with the railroads that crisscross his city.

Sure, the tracks caused regular traffic jams before, and city leaders have long hoped for a railroad relocation project, but was this week’s incident the locomotive that broke the camel’s back?

We talk about that incident on this week’s Ask The Mayor program.

Uwe Mayer /

Small-town West Central Indiana commissioners say they’re happy about changes made to a state-issued matching grant intended for infrastructure work.

At a meeting in Crawfordsville Monday with Department of Transportation officials, Vermillion County Commissioner Tim Yocum said one of the new requirements – an asset management report – won’t require counties to hire pricey consultants.

“Most counties save $20,000, $30,000 or $40,000 by utilizing their own people,” Yocum says. “It seemed like the state was really trying to work with us to make this happen.”

Philip Brookes /

The cities of West Lafayette, Crawfordsville and Lafayette are among those in Indiana which have begun legislating to head off the effects of a bill giving sweeping new rights to cell phone companies.

The law, which Gov. Eric Holcomb has until Thursday to sign, allows so-called micro cell phone towers to be erected so cell phone signal strength doesn't wane as often.

West Lafayette Development Director Erik Carlson told his city's Board of Public Works Saturday that the technology is valuable, but that it has its share of problems.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton has found himself up against some powerful competition recently.

He appears to have prevailed in a battle against the world’s largest company, Wal-Mart, in a battle over a road near the big box chain’s Crawfordsville location.

But he may also be up against several cell phone companies – and the lawmakers they appear to be bankrolling.

This week on WBAA’s Ask the Mayor, we quiz Mayor Barton about what he’s learned from his recent skirmishes.
J. Stephen Conn

The newly-reformed Crawfordsville Commission on Human Rights is looking to tackle what the city says is a growing number of issues concerning diversity in the Montgomery County community.

The 12-person commission is intended to serve as an advising body to the mayor and city council on affairs concerning diversity and human rights in the community. The commission was officially created in 1979 but involvement had lapsed in recent years.
J. Stephen Conn

Crawfordsville's mayor plans to create a more localized economic development board after nixing an agreement between the city and a group that had been tasked with promoting it.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Like a lot of college towns, Crawfordsville has a high percentage of rental properties – almost half the town’s residences are landlord-owned.

Also like a lot of college towns, the city sometimes has to crack down on owners of derelict properties which see more than their fair share of police calls.

This week on Ask The Mayor, we talk with Crawfordsville’s Todd Barton about how he’s trying to tackle that problem.

City of Frankfort

Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes is on track to get an $8,000 raise next year.

That constitutes a 15-percent increase – compared to the 3-percent pay raise budgeted for most other city employees, as well as the clerk-treasurer and city judge.

Clerk-Treasurer Judy Sheets says, in accordance with federal law, the parks superintendent is set to receive an 8-percent raise.

The Frankfort City Council on Tuesday approved the salary ordinance on second reading. One more vote is required at next month’s council meeting.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

As WBAA tried to report on the fiscal situation with the Hoosier State Line, we were left to extrapolate whether the train was finally in the black financially.

Turns out we're not alone.

Crawfordsville mayor's office

Like a lot of Indiana cities, Crawfordsville has seen an increase in drug crime in recent years.

The city has taken some steps, such as increasing patrols, but is there more Todd Barton’s administration could do to wield the power of big data in the city’s favor?

We put that question to him today on Ask The Mayor.

Also on this week’s program, the city has some unexpected budget issues to clear up – everything from putting off new power company improvements to figuring out how someone embezzled enough money from the city’s golf course to put it in the red.