Funds from car auctions can be used for repairs
Gary officials made changes to their policies regarding the way money raised from police auctions of towed vehicles can be used.
The Common Council voted without opposition Tuesday to approve policy changes that Dayna Bennett, the chief of staff to Mayor Karen FreemanWilson, said would provide more money for the Police Department to repair and properly maintain the city’s fleet of squad cars.
The department has 179 vehicles, of which 81 are Ford Crown Victoria sedans that are eight years old or older.
Existing ordinances allowed for money from the quarterly auctions of cars towed by police and never reclaimed by their owners to be used to purchase new vehicles.
But the changes approved by the Common Council will allow for maintenance of the existing cars, which Deputy Chief Brian Evans said is a priority for the department to keep the squads in good working order.
Bennett said the change in municipal policies likely will create a fund of about $114,000 annually that can be used for police car maintenance.
In separate action, the council approved a measure granting a special use zoning permit to Midwest Self-Storage Development LLC of Valparaiso, which wants to buy the one-time Ultra Foods site on Ridge Road between Colfax and Calhoun streets, where a Menards store is located.
The former grocery store’s 69,000 square feet of space sits empty, and the company wants to convert the structure into an indoor facility containing storage lockers for personal use.
The change in zoning status is required for the new business to occupy the space.
Another zoning measure also came before the Common Council, although Gary officials concluded that no action was required on their part.
A Gary woman living in the 4900 block of Rhode Island Street had filed a request for a special use permit for her home after state officials initially thought she was operating a child daycare center there. Instead, the woman was caring for her grandchildren at the house. Her permit request was formally withdrawn on Tuesday.
Gregory Tejeda is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.
Gary Chief of Staff Dayna Bennett, right, and Deputy police Chief Brian Evans urged the Common Council to approve changes in municipal procedure to allow for more money to be on hand for repairs of squad cars.