Rate increases approved for January 1

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STARTING JANUARY 1, residents whose cars have been towed must pay the police a $50 fee to get a document that authorizes the towing company to release their vehicle.

Towing fees among several rates that will increase

The Gary Common Council recently passed several rate increases that will go into effect on January 1.

By an 8-0 vote, the council approved the changes on Tuesday, December 16.

The approval came with little discussion by the council, whose Finance Committee had previously reviewed an 18-page document detailing various city fees, of which eight of them would change in the new year.

Under the new ordinance, Gary residents will still pay a $10 fee for a fire alarm permit, but will pay a $50 penalty for a false alarm at their homes.

Another change involves late fees for people who do not purchase their city-issued permits or licenses on time. Currently, late fees start accruing when people pay more than a month late. A larger penalty is given for those who are 61 days or more late. A bigger fine is imposed for residents who purchase permits more than 90 days pass the deadline.

Under the new ordinance, late fees will begin after a month, and increase at 121 days instead of 61, and 241 days instead of 90.

In addition, residents who want a copy of an incident report for someone that was transported by ambulance will be charged $25.

There will also be new fees for copying public records.

Copying one page of a legal document will drop from 25 cents to 10 cents. Color copies will decrease from 50 cents a page to 25 cents.

The Police Department will charge $5 fees for people needing to check an automobile’s Vehicle Identification Number and for people seeking to get their cars after their vehicles have been towed.

People must pay the police a $50 fee to get a document that authorizes the towing company to release the car. Then, car owners must pay a $140 fee to the towing company. The towing company gives the police department $40 for each car returned.

Other changes include legal language involving the city’s Environmental Affairs Department to clarify that both Environmental Affairs and Fire departments must sign off on permits for schools and churches that wish to include bonfires as part of celebrations. No fees would be charged for those permits.

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