Hammond -- Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. has ordered an immediate hiring freeze for all city jobs.

McDermott issued the executive order on Thursday. He said the move was necessary due to House Bill 1001's property tax caps, dwindling tax revenues, and budget cuts mandated by the state Department of Local Government Finance.

He declared the city is in a fiscal emergency due to lower collection rates on property taxes and tax caps.

No position will be filled without approval of the mayor. Only those positions deemed essential will be filled.

If an essential position is filled, every effort will be made to fill it with an existing city employee.