SLIDELL, La. - As city leaders in Slidell plan to vote on having employees cover their own retirement contributions, in order to save the city budget, a plan to prevent future financial hits to employees is emerging.
Some say traffic tickets could be the ticket to shoring up the city’s finances.
Det. Daniel Seuzeneau with the Slidell Police Department, and spokesman for the Slidell Police Association, said, “The Slidell Police Association came up with an idea of adding an additional fee to all traffic tickets and criminal charges that anybody in the City of Slidell will face if they're arrested or charged with a traffic citation."
The idea could raise $250,000 to $350,000 a year for a city dealing with low sales taxes. Leaders so far have taken several steps to fill the gap. The latest falls on employees, who may have to start putting up part of their retirement contributions, instead of the city footing 100 percent of the cost, as it has in the past.
"We don't want to lose good people, and we're trying to give the city a solution to a problem," said Seuzeneau.
There are already more than 10 fees tacked on to traffic citation convictions and city court convictions. What police are suggesting is to add one more to each; $25 for the traffic citations and $50 for the city court convictions. Some on the city council think the plan needs work because increased tickets and arrests, to increase revenue, is a concern.
"Even if you get a ticket, and it's not an additional ticket that somebody has written, and I don't think our police would do that, it's gonna be perceived that way," said Councilman Joe Fraught.
Police agree that would never happen and public reaction is mixed. But regardless of how, everyone agrees more revenue has to be found to protect the city and its employees.
In order for the idea to become reality, the City Council would have to approve a resolution supporting it, and then the plan would need approval from the State Legislature. No steps have been taken in that direction yet.
City Council votes on the retirement contribution change on Tuesday.