GRETNA, LA - Jefferson Parish deputy sheriffs will be paying more for take-home vehicles beginning Sept. 1, according to The Times-Picayune.
The $75 flat fee for all deputies will be increased to $100 for vehicles that remain in-parish, $150 for deputies who live outside of Jefferson, and $200 for those who commute from out-of-state residences, according to Paul Rivera, chief financial officer for the district.
The new fee schedule reestablished the one in place before Hurricane Katrina, with an additional $50 tacked on to patrol units taken out of state. Rivera said the rising price of gasoline, in conjunction with the decline of sales tax revenue, prompted the changes.
Take-home vehicles are made available to employees at Sheriff Newell Normand's discretion, Rivera said. However, the department follows an internal policy allowing take-home cars for deputies, detectives and employees with the rank of captain and above. Other staffers, such as those in information technology also qualify.
Roughly 614 full-time employees and 160 reserve officers take cars home to residences in Jefferson Parish. There are 195 vehicles taken outside parish lines and about 14 driven out-of-state to places such as Diamondhead or Picayune, Miss., Rivera said.
After Katrina struck in 2005, then-Sheriff Harry Lee dropped the take-home car fee to $75 for all vehicles in an effort to recruit deputies and retains those forced to relocate because of flood damage to their homes, according to the Times.
However, Sheriff's Office officials rethought the policy last year as fuel prices approached an average $4 per gallon. The policy remained in place for another year but officials decided to again implement the higher fees in light of the revenue dips and this year's $3.4 million deficit, reported the Times.