NEW PALESTINE, Ind- The town of New Palestine is out hundreds of thousands of dollars due to a records mistake. For 15-20 years, the town had been accidentally reporting just half of its road mileage, leading to thousands of dollars in missed road funding every year.
“They made a mistake, and it cost their town money,” said Hancock County Engineer Gary Pool.
According to INDOT data, New Palestine only reported about 8.4 miles of road. In reality, the town has about 16 miles, nearly double the amount they were getting paid for.
“A mistake was made, it should be rectified, and I think they have,” Pool said. “I looked on the thing recently and I see all their roads are accounted for.”
It’s hard to tell exactly how much money the town would’ve received. Every year, money from the gas tax and other sources goes into a big pot, set to be distributed to every municipality in the state.
Mileage is only one of many factors in the state’s distribution formula. For New Palestine, the mileage makes a small difference in the amount they receive each year, but town officials estimate that over the 15-20 year span, the total amount lost is around $200,000.
“The roadway mileage in the town actually doesn’t have a huge effect on their formula,” Pool said. “But if you spread it over so many years it just kept adding up.”
The town owns up to the mistake and says they’ve fixed the issue going forward. They also know they won’t be getting back the money lost.
“You’re not getting the money back. It’s distributed amongst everybody,” Pool said. “Are you going to get $100 back from every municipality in the state? That’s not going to happen.”
In total, 49 roads throughout the town had small sections that were unaccounted for.