Council finalizes revised police pension ordinance | Local News

Some retired Terre Haute police officers may be looking for something else to do now on the first and second Thursdays of the month.

The City Council finally signed off Thursday on a revised ordinance designed to safeguard their retirement account.

Several retirees served by the 1925 police pension fund have been regular fixtures at council meetings for months, ever since learning the fund is often in the red and that it was improperly used to pay health insurance for retirees going back to at least 2003.

The fund covers persons who joined the department before April 30, 1977, when a state-administered fund went into effect.

The ordinance makes it clear the city must follow state law in administering the pension fund, prohibits the account from being pooled with other funds and says it shall never have a negative balance.

With a nod toward the city’s ongoing financial challenges and a state mandate to close an overall $9.2 million deficit for this year, implementation is delayed until January 2019. The city administration wanted an effective date of 2021, but the pensioners and their attorney, Noah Gambill, held out for the earlier date.

The council also granted preliminary approval to three tax abatement requests and confirmed a fourth:

n $1.5 million in real and personal property tax abatement for a $38 million expansion of the GATX Corp. rail maintenance facility at 4400 Maple Ave. The project will retain 23 jobs paying $43,680 per year and create 55 positions paying $42,567 annually, GATX has said.

n $378,000 in personal property taxes on a $1.6 million investment in new equipment at Tri-Aerospace to retain 38 jobs with average salaries of $45,760 per year and create 22 new positons paying $43,700 annually, according to the company.

n An abatement on a $900,000 investment in a new warehouse and office building for Lee Equipment Co. in the 1000 block of Wabash Avenue.

n A nine-year property tax abatement was confirmed for a planned $11.7 million senior housing project at 1450 Wabash Ave.

Council members OK’d the issuance of Indiana Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds for Vermilion Development’s planned $18 million development of an assisted living facility on Lafayette Avenue in the rural health development corridor. The action for Silver Birch apartments does not place the city under any financial liability.

Dave Taylor can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dave.taylor@tribstar.

Follow him on Twitter@TribStarDave.

 

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