LOUISVILLE, KY - Louisville Metro Government filed an appeal Aug. 3 in Jefferson Circuit Court, challenging the Kentucky Labor Cabinet's ruling that the city cannot charge police officers a take-home fee, according to The Louisville Courier-Journal.

The cabinet ruled July 7 that the city would have to negotiate through a police union contract any fees associated with officers taking cars home. That ruling said the city must "immediately" stop charging the fees - $100 per month, or $160 per month if the car is used as transport to a second job - and allow back in any officers who opted out of the program to avoid the fees, reported the Journal.

Under the program, officers are free to use the take-home vehicles for personal or family business, and do not have to pay for gas, maintenance, or insurance. Mayor Jerry Abramson instituted the fees - initially smaller - in March 2008 as the city was facing a $13 million budget shortfall. He increased the fees to their current level last fiscal year, when the city faced a $20 million shortfall.

The Fraternal Order of Police, River City Lodge 614, also sought a ruling Aug. 3 on whether the city has to repay the $890,000 already collected from the take-home car program. The cabinet's ruling said the repayment should be negotiated with the union.

Although fees have not been charged since May, Louisville would have collected an estimated $1.4 million this fiscal year, city officials told the Journal.