The gas pump is used by the Sheriff’s Office to fuel its patrol cars. The Sheriff’s Office purchases the fuel that goes into the 1,000 gallon tank under the pump.
However, where the debate lies is that the Police Jury owns the jail, where the pump is located. The pump is on the inventory of the Police Jury.
Roberta Boudreaux, the liaison officer between the Sheriff’s Office and the Police Jury, gave the Police Jury a bid of $4,653 from PumpTech of Crowley to remove and replace the pump.
She told the Police Jury at Monday’s meeting that the pump is no longer repairable and needs to be replaced.
Boudreaux said the Police Jury only uses the pump for gas for the Weed Eaters.
“Are you saying the Police Jury does not need a pump?” asked Police Juror Errol Domingues.
Boudreaux said she is just informing the police jurors what the Police Jury uses the gas pump for.
The generator to power the jail when the electricity goes out is operated by diesel, she said.
Before the jury voted on buying a new pump or not, Domingues requested that Police Jury attorney Paul Moresi III research to see if the Police Jury is obligated to purchase a new pump even though they do not use the pump for police jury business.
Vermilion Parish Sheriff Mike Couvillon, who was not at the meeting, said he will wait to see what Moresi decides before he acts. If Moresi rules that the Police Jury does not have to replace or repair the pump, then Couvillon said he will get the Sheriff’s attorney involved.
“It (the pump) is not on my inventory list,” said Couvillon. “I do not know legally if I can spend money on someone else’s property.”
The pump has been used to fuel patrol cars since the days of former Sheriff Euda Delcambre in 1978, Couvillon added.
On Tuesday, Police Jury President Wayne Touchet said in 1978 taxpayers passed a sales tax that was used to build the parish jail. The gas pump was installed when the jail was built. He said the police jury has paid to repair the pump for the last 32 years.
“The Police Jury continues to collect a half cent sales tax (since 1978) to maintain the facility. We have been using that money to maintain the pump with the sales tax money,” said Touchet. “It has been repaired three or four times in my years as a police juror.”
Touchet said the Jury should “work in harmony” with the Sheriff because his department provides free labor that saves the taxpayer’s money. Touchet said he is in favor of the Police Jury buying the new gas pump for $4,653.
Moresi is expected to report his finding at next Wednesday’s committee meeting.