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August 29, 2014

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Las Vegas Council backs Metro’s request for sales tax increase

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Leila Navidi

Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie speaks during an editorial board meeting with Las Vegas Sun staff inside his office in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2012.

The Las Vegas City Council voted Wednesday to support Metro Police’s request to the Legislature to raise the sales tax by a quarter-cent in order to hire more police officers.

The council’s action comes a day after the Clark County Commission had voiced its support for the initiative.

The issue: Metro Police sought the support of Las Vegas and Clark County, which together fund a large part of its budget, for when it goes to the Legislature to request an already voter-approved quarter-cent sales tax increase to hire new officers.

The vote: Approved 6-1, with Councilman Bob Beers opposed

What it means: Metro Police will have the backing of both the Las Vegas City Council and the Clark County Commission when it goes to the Legislature in the 2013 session to ask for a quarter-cent sales tax increase.

Voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase in 2004 to hire and equip new police officers, but only a quarter-cent of that increase has been enacted so far; legislative approval is needed before the remaining tax is levied.

The Legislature declined to enact the additional quarter-cent sales tax in 2009 and Metro did not ask for the increase during the 2011 session.

Echoing statements he made to the county commission, Sheriff Doug Gillespie told the city council on Wednesday that dwindling property tax revenue and funding cuts have led to the department eliminating more than 300 officer positions in the past several years. Gillespie said more revenue was needed to increase staffing levels, which trail behind the national average for metropolitan police departments.

Beers opposed the resolution, stating that a fuller debate of how Metro spends its money is needed and noting the agency has not made cuts to its budget as deep as other parts of the local government.

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  1. 145 people who work for Metro made OVER $200,000 in salary and benefits in 2011. The Assistant Sheriff made over $544,000 and a Lieutenant made over $507,000. In 2010 the highest paid guy made over $653,000 in salary and benefits, then retired. Check out the outrageous salaries being paid locally at athttp://transparentnevada.com/salaries/clark/. These greedy and selfish people loot the local treasuries, then want the people of Southern Nevada to pay more taxes.

  2. In 2011 the City Manager of Henderson made over $962,000, the Fire Chief made over $521,000, and a Police Captain made over $457,000. In North Las Vegas last year, a Corrections Lieutenant made over $525,000 and an Assistant Fire Chief, (John Oceguera) made over $452,000. In the City of Las Vegas, 130 people made over $200,000 each last year in salary and benefits. These greedy people don't care about police officers on the street, teachers, or our kids.

  3. The people at the top of local governments will fire teachers, building inspectors, and any other government workers who are not part of their elite group. But they will not lower the salaries of their cronies at the top.

  4. Our economy has declined materially. Our demographics change as we include illegals and those here for a generation of so who tend to have large families yet don't contribute to the economy at the per-capita averages. Thus our needs for services keep increasing--services from Metro, K-12, and everything else. Yet our economy is going the other way. Non-government employees have taken a 10% pay cut--those who are employed. Others remain unemployed long after the UC runs out. Property values have halved. We should NOT raise any taxes. We should b3e eliminating non-essential services and cutting compensation--CUT compensation to reasonable levels--10% immediate cuts and rational re-evaluation of pay scales for each and every government job. HR and the Commissioners can start with those jobs with lots of employees--so correcting compensation will have prompt, material decreases. And WHEN already are employees going to participate in the funding of their retirements (PERS).