As part of the city’s financial recovery plan, the city of Gary has proposed a number of amendments to its current fee schedule ordinance. The amendments will assist in managing the administrative costs associated with processing various permits, licenses, applications and services.
In 2017, the Freeman-Wilson administration embarked on a comprehensive financial recovery plan to balance the city’s budget despite continuing to operate the city with declining revenue. In April 2018, the city instituted a spending and hiring freeze which resulted in departments engaging only in necessary spending and hiring. In July last year the financial plan was introduced to the public inclusive of a recommendation to update city fees. The city’s fee ordinance was last amended in 2015.
“We have been working over the past seven and a half years to erase the budget deficit and we have seen some success in reducing the city’s expenses, but we have also seen a reduction in property tax and casino revenue,” stated Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. “The changes in the city’s fee schedule is one of the measures identified to increase revenue while continuing to reduce costs.”
The 2019 fee ordinance proposes changes to fees in various departments including Engineering, Redevelopment, Zoning, Parks, Finance, EMS and Police. The ordinance also proposes that three new sections be included in the 2019 amendments.
The fee ordinance went before the council finance committee on July 23. The Gary Common Council is expected to hear the ordinance at its next regularly scheduled council meeting on August 7, 2019 at Gary Arthouse, 411 E. 5th Avenue. If approved, changes will be effective September 1, 2019.