LOUISVILLE, KY - Under a state agency ruling issued July 7, Louisville Metro government can no longer charge police officers for take-home patrol cars unless the fees are negotiated under the police union contract, according to The Courier-Journal.

The city has reportedly collected more than $890,000 since the fees were imposed in March 2008, reported the Journal.

The ruling came in response to an unfair labor practices complaint filed by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in March of last year after the fees were imposed. The fees were initiated as part of the administration's plan to deal with a $13 million budget deficit in fiscal 2008 and were raised when the city faced a $20 million revenue shortfall during the last fiscal year, the Journal reported.

The cabinet ruling doesn't require the city to reimburse officers for money already paid. It does, however, require both sides to sit down and negotiate potential reimbursement of the fees, reported WLKY news.

Of the police department's approximately 1,300 vehicles, 1,094 are used as take-home cars.

Under the program, officers pay $100 a month to take home their patrol cars, which they are free to use for personal business. No insurance, maintenance, or fuel expenses are charged. Officers pay $160 a month if the cars are used as transportation to a second job.

In addition to immediate ceasing of fees, the police department must permit employees who opted out of the take-home car program to resume participation in it, according to the Journal.

About 50 officers opted out of the program instead of paying the fees. They were told that, once out, they could not be reinstated in the program, reported the Journal.

Click here to view the ruling.