A new interpretation of an old ordinance could cost Gary restaurants and other businesses thousands of dollars per year.
The City of Gary has begun charging business owners and owners of commercial buildings annual fees on any type of heating equipment or appliances that run off of natural gas or any other non-electric fuel sources. In a case in Lake Superior Court, Pete Julovich from the Department of Environmental Affairs, argued that each and every stove, furnace, boiler and other gas-fired device in Gary is subject to an annual inspection fee of $199.99 to $1,000.00 Businesses with multiple gas-fired devices would pay multiple fees.
Any business or commercial building that has furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters, incinerators, or any other appliances or devices will be eligible to be charged a minimum of $199.00 per year per device. The $199.00 annual fee is the minimum cost for the permit to operate such devices. The fee structure goes up to as much as $1000.00 per unit per year. Most businesses and commercial buildings would likely to fall in the $199.00–$275.00 per year per device.
A moderately sized restaurant could easily have a dozen devices that would qualify under this ordinance. Any commercial building with a gas furnace and a gas hot water heater would be eligible for two fees of at least $199.00 per year each.
This is not a new ordinance. This ordinance has been on Gary’s books since 1960; however, it is only since Pete Julovich from the City of Gary’s Department of Environmental Affairs has interpreted it to apply to any and all natural gas-fired devices that it has been enforced. So far, it is only being selectively enforced; but business owners and owners of commercial properties in the city should be concerned.
According to a prior public records request, we were unable to find that this highly questionable fee was being charged to any building owned or operated by any person or business entity politically connected to this administration. Conversely, the City of Gary and Pete Julovich have appeared to target certain property owners with this obscure ordinance that are known to have views inconsistent with those of this same administration.
This administration has given lip service to being “business friendly”. Yet this is just one more example of the true hostility it actually has towards businesses and owners of commercial property.
If business owners or property owners have questions about this ordinance and the impact it will have on them, they are urged to contact Pete Julovich at 219-808-9630. If this ordinance has been selectively enforced against your business, the Gazette would like to hear from you. Contact us on Facebook or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org