Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 | 1:47 p.m.
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.