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Published: Friday, 1/28/2005

Lima retiree buys police car for city

LIMA, Ohio - A Lima retiree gave the city an unexpected gift this week: $23,000 to buy a new police cruiser.

"It's unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable," Chief Greg Garlock said yesterday. "You talk about literally a Christmas gift that you weren't expecting.

Mayor David Berger said the resident approached him about a month ago with the idea. The donor, who insisted on anonymity, was aware of the city's tight finances and no longer paid city income tax but relied on the city's safety forces.

The same donor gave $20,000 to the fire department several years ago when it was raising money to buy infrared vision equipment for firefighters.

"They indicated they have relied on both departments and appreciate the services that have been provided," the mayor said.

"I think it is a very unusual and very pleasantly surprising donation and very timely," Mr. Berger said. "We didn't have money for any new cruisers. This is filling a very real need."

Chief Garlock said he has zero dollars in his 2005 budget for equipment purchases.

High unemployment and state and federal funding cuts have left Lima in a financial pinch in recent years. The mayor said out of a $25 million budget, only $200,000 was set aside for capital expenditures.

The chief said he hopes to have the new cruiser equipped and on the street by spring.

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