INDIANAPOLIS - After weeks of negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police and the fire union, some public safety personnel have agreed to pay a monthly fee to have a take-home vehicle.
The Department of Public Safety will impose a surcharge on every Metro police officer and firefighter with a take-home vehicle, and even those who serve public safety for free will not escape the charge.
Public safety responders consume more gasoline than all other city agencies combined.
Last year, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Marion County Sheriff's Department and the Indianapolis Fire Department drove more than 31 million miles and consumed more than 2.2 million gallons of fuel.
Under the new policy, every IMPD and IFD employee with a take-home vehicle will help pay for their own gas.
"Instituting a fuel surcharge has been talked about for years. Public safety knows it's time to get moving on something," said Valerie Washington, with the Department of Public Safety. "We worked with FOP and Local 416, and I think everyone understands why we need to do this. They understand the need for fuel conservation, especially during these tough budget times. We believe that this policy will help cut down on some of our costs."
Last year, fuel costs for public safety alone topped $7.5 million. In order to help cover the staggering cost of fuel, the Department of Public Safety has imposed a fuel surcharge.
Everyone with a take-home car will pay $64 each month, public safety personnel who use their vehicles in conjunction with a part-time job will pay $128 per month and personnel with a take-home car who live out of county will pay $150 per month.
"We didn't want this to break people's banks, we wanted it to be fair," Washington said. "I do believe that the rates we've established are going to be fair for everyone."
The projected revenue of $1 million per year from public safety fuel surcharges alone will likely be applied to every city employee with a take-home vehicle.
"We will present this to our fuel board, and we'll encourage other agencies to look at that. We have shared this with the sheriff's department, and we are hopeful that they will consider adopting this policy as well. It was mentioned that they'd reduce the rate for their officers, because they're paid less than IMPD officers." Washington said.
The Department of Public Safety will begin a campaign urging fuel conservation that will become a point of emphasis at every roll call, and a policy that would include discipline for violators, perhaps a suspension of take-home privileges, is in the works.