Gary council objects to state's South Shore funds edict

2014-03-04T22:25:00Z 2014-03-04T23:09:07Z Gary council objects to state's South Shore funds edictMatt Mikus matt.mikus@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com
March 04, 2014 10:25 pm  • 

GARY | Gary City Council President Kyle Allen Sr. spoke against the state legislation that provides millions to expanding South Shore Line commuter rail, saying Tuesday the city should decide how the money is spent.

Senate Bill 367 would close a tax loophole and direct $4 million to the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority to expand the South Shore.

Allen said during Tuesday's City Council meeting he supports the commuter line expansion and the RDA, but wanted the city to decide how the city's portion would be used.

"If the communities in Lake County are to contribute to this, it should be by choice," Allen said, "not by force."

While a strong transportation system would benefit Lake County, he said it does not take priority over funding the basics of running a city, like police, fire, and garbage collection.

The council also passed an ordinance to require police officers to receive back pay if exonerated from any felony charges.

By ordinance, an officer charged with a Class A misdemeanor or a felony can be put on unpaid leave, and limit the amount of pay if it's a Class B misdemeanor.

The ordinance changed it to require back pay if exonerated, instead of allowing the Gary Police Civil Service Commission to make a choice. If the officer pleads down to a Class B misdemeanor or lower, the Gary Police Department will be required to provide 90 days back pay.

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