The Northern California city of Tracy is taking economic stimulus into its own hands.

On Tuesday, the city council passed a resolution that will give buyers of new cars from dealers within the city a $500 gift card that can be redeemed at local merchants participating in the program, the Tracy Press reported.

The city plans to spend $608,000 on the program which will make 800 of the cards available to customers of the Tracy Auto Mall, a collection of dealerships that sell cars from Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge, Honda and other brands.

According to the Mercury News, auto sales of about 8,000 vehicles each year are responsible for 20 percent of the city's revenue, but have suffered a 50 percent drop this year. A Pontiac/GMC/Cadillac dealer at the mall expects to go out of business this month.

The gift card program is part of a larger $100 million Local Investment Stimulus Program that city leaders hope will create 3,700 new jobs by the end of 2010.

Click here for more info on the gift card program