Las Vegas Sun

July 28, 2014

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Metro’s request for $27 million in additional city, county support raises eyebrows

With a final decision a month away, Metro Police’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year dominated discussion Monday morning during a Fiscal Affairs Committee meeting.

The issue: Metro has proposed a $502 million budget for fiscal year 2013-2014. To stem a roughly $46 million deficit, the department is seeking increased contributions from Clark County and the city of Las Vegas.

Under the proposal, the county’s contribution would increase by $17.1 million and the city’s would increase by $10.1 million. The city and county each year must cover the portion of Metro’s budget that isn’t covered by self-generated revenues. The county picks up 60 percent of those costs; the city takes care of the other 40 percent.

The debate: Sheriff Doug Gillespie said the department had funds for 192 commissioned officer positions, which have been left unfilled because of looming budget concerns. The proposed budget would eliminate 117 of those commissioned officer positions, as well as 59 civilian positions. The department intends to fill the remaining 75 commissioned officer positions.

Gillespie said he strongly opposed eliminating more police officer positions.

“We have reached the point that we don’t got any lower,” he said. “We will have to look at other areas of service we provide to cut those positions.”

Gillespie noted the department’s budget must be approved by the end of April, which is sooner than the Nevada Legislature likely will make a decision regarding the quarter-cent sales tax increase for Clark County that would fund additional police positions. And even if the Legislature does approve the sales tax increase, Metro would not see that revenue until January 2014.

County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, a member of the Fiscal Affairs Committee, expressed concern about where the county would find another $17.1 million for Metro, sparking a moment of dialogue between himself and Gillespie.

“If we don’t have the money, we’re looking at either forcing cuts or layoffs at the county, or cuts and layoffs at Metro,” Sisolak said.

“That’s correct, commissioner,” Gillespie replied.

“Well, we’ve already had cuts and layoffs at the county — a significant number of them,” Sisolak said.

County Commissioner Larry Brown, another Fiscal Affairs Committee member, said the impending dilemma amounts to putting a Band-Aid on a larger problem, resulting in making value judgments about services.

“Is a police officer on a street more important than a social worker answering a hotline more important than treatment at (University Medical Center)?” he said. “That’s the decision I see coming.”

Next step: Clark County commissioners will discuss Metro’s budget request during their next meeting Tuesday, April 2. Gillespie told Sisolak he planned to attend.

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  1. This is all BS, Metro has enough funding and enough cops. So many so they are able to conduct cell phone sting operations!

    Read this for the facts.

    http://www.npri.org/issues/publication/m...

  2. I guess they will need the new officers to go after those that use their cell phones while crossing the street. We might need more police but we really can't afford more at this time. The city of
    Las Vegas and the County just don't have the money and adding more taxes just isn't gonna cut it. The county wants more gas tax for the roads. The police want more money for more police. Next, the police and fire people will want raises and the cycle just keeps going. Other agencies are being told to do more with less. Maybe that's what the police need to do.

  3. Here is the Metro salary data for 2012.

    http://transparentnevada.com/salaries/20...

  4. Problem solved. Cut admin. Reassign other officers to the street. If our police leadership doesn't know how to do this, replace them.

  5. Here's a suggestion cut the pay of the top five people in uniform and see if there's room for more people at the bottom.

    Looking at the transparent nevada link, it seems that our police chiefs are making a lot of money....even more than our highly paid firefighters. The city of Las Vegas doesn't have a budget deficit, they have a salary problem.

  6. "Is a police officer on a street more important than a social worker answering a hotline more important than treatment at (University Medical Center)?"

    Absolutely.

    Having lived here just a bit over three years, I will agree that there are some salary realignment issues that need to be addressed. However, IMHO Metro stands far above most police departments in similar cities.

    They deserve our continued support.

  7. "Metro's request for $27 million" or about half the money the department wasted on a non-functioning radio system designed to hide the actions of its officers from the general public.

    How about the department eliminate the salaries of the officers whose illegal actions have cost us all in financial settlements.

    The audacity of the sheriff. After proving himself fiscally irresponsible and unable to discipline or control the officers he has, he ask for more money and more cops.

    It seems that replacing Bonaventura with Gillespie may turn out to be a zero sum effort.