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STOCK_Gary City Hall

STOCK_Gary City Hall

John J. Watkins

GARY — The City Council on Thursday approved on final reading an ordinance to allow for temporary loans to meet obligations for the police and fire pension funds.

"This ordinance is requesting the authorization to obtain a pension loan in the amount of $4.1 million in anticipation of the state pension relief reimbursement distribution," Chief of Staff Dayna Bennett said.

She said the fire pension fund would receive $1.8 million and the police pension fund $2.3 million.

"The pension relief distributions are generally paid to the city in July and September, and the estimated distribution is $10.5 million," Bennett said.

The interest rate for the loan is expected to be between 3 and 4 percent.

"The loan is anticipated to be repaid in October after the final distribution has been received," Bennett said.

The council approved the ordinance by a vote of 8-0 with Councilwoman Carolyn Rogers, D-4th, absent.

The meeting took place at the Genesis Convention Center due to leakage at City Hill caused by recent rains.

In other business:

* The council in February approved an ordinance requiring that city employees hired after Nov. 1, 2016, must live in Gary.

Exceptions are teachers, police officers and firefighters.

"It's to give more people that live within the city of Gary employment," Council President Ronald Brewer, D-at-large, said.

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said that in anticipation of the ordinance the city has not hired anyone over the last year who doesn't already live in Gary or who didn't plan to move to the city.

"I am in favor of people who work in the city and get their income from the city living in the city," Freeman-Wilson said. "I think it makes sense."

* The council also approved a use variance so an automatic car wash can be constructed at 33rd and Grant streets.

Brewer said the car wash is expected to be operational by early fall.

"It will be a great enhancement," Brewer said. "The area where they're looking to build is just a wooded wetland area now at this time, so there's nothing there."