Friday, May 24, 2013 | 5:25 p.m.
A bill to permit an increase in the sales tax to allow Las Vegas Metro Police to retain 300 officers has passed the Senate, 18-3.
"I'm glad it got off the Senate floor," said Chuck Callaway, police director of the department. He said he was worried it would not gain passage before the Friday deadline.
Assembly Bill 496 would increase the sales tax in Clark County by 0.15 percent if it is approved by a two-thirds vote of the Clark County Commission.
The department has lost revenue from the decline in sales and property tax during the economic downturn.
The measure returns to the Assembly for agreement on a Senate amendment. The bill requires periodic reports by the police department on how the money is spent. If approved by the County Commission, the added tax would go into effect Oct. 1
The increase would expire in September 2017 unless extended.
Callaway said the money received from the increase would enable the department to keep 300 current officers on the job and hire an additional 60-80 employees.
Republicans Barbara Cegavske of Las Vegas, Don Gustavson of Sparks and James Settelmeyer of Minden all opposed the bill.
Cegavske said this increase should be approved by the voters.
Callaway said police representatives would work now in the Assembly to get agreement to the Senate amendment and also if the bill goes to a conference committee.