City attorney: Agreement near on police pension fund | Local News

A meeting scheduled for today is expected to finally produce an agreement designed to safeguard the Terre Haute Police Pension Fund.

City Attorney Eddie Felling informed the City Council of the meeting during its monthly sunshine meeting Thursday night.

The issue has been brewing for months, as a deficit in the fund grew until state reimbursement funds were received in June. Along the way, retirees covered by the 1925 Police Pension Fund, learned the account was being improperly tapped to pay health insurance premiums for retired officers.

That issue has been addressed, but Felling has been working on an amendment to the city code to ensure future administrations abide by the rules and state law.

Negotiations with pensioners and their attorney hit a road bump when the state ordered the city to reduce general fund spending by $7.9 million this year, limiting the city’s ability to immediately bring the account up to its proper level.

Felling said he is optimistic about today’s meeting but added, “No matter what, there will be a proposed amendment” prior the council’s regular meeting next Thursday.

n The council also heard requests for tax abatements for three new or expanding businesses, with action on the requests set for its next meeting Sept. 14.

GATX Corp. is seeking a 10-year real and personal property tax abatement for a planned $38 million expansion of its rail car maintenance facility at 4400 Maple Ave. The company is seeking to abate $1.5 million of an estimated $2.8 million in real and personal property taxes.

The expansion would retain 23 jobs paying an average of $43,680 per year and create 55 new jobs paying $42,567 each, according to the petition.

Tri-Aerospace is seeking to abate $378,000 of $692,000 in personal property taxes on a $1.6 million investment in new equipment. The company says it would retain 38 jobs with average salaries of $45,760 per year and add 22 new employees with average salaries of $43,700.

Priser Properties is requesting an eight-year tax abatement on a $900,000 investment in a new office and warehouse building in the 1000 block of Wabash Avenue.

The building would be leased to Lee Equipment Co., which sells school and office supplies. The investment would help retain 28 jobs with average salaries of $75,000 and create two new jobs at $50,000 each.

Priser’s petition noted that requests for construction bids would be sent to union-affiliated contractors in Vigo and Vermillion counties and that a laundry currently on the site would be relocated elsewhere in the city, retaining four to six part-time jobs.

n The council also discussed a nine-year property tax abatement and rezoning for Miller Parrott lofts, a proposed 54-unit senior housing facility in the former Lighthouse Mission building at 1450 Wabash Ave. The council granted preliminary approval of tax abatement last month and is scheduled to confirm the action at its next meeting.

The $11.7 million project would create two jobs paying about $39,000 per year.

n Also Thursday, the council heard from Vermilion Development which is seeking city approval of Indiana Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds for its assisted-living project planned for Lafayette Avenue.

Approval of the bonds would not place the city under any financial responsibility for the $18 million project to be known as Silver Birch.

Dave Taylor can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dave.taylor@tribstar. Follow him on Twitter@TribStarDave.

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