Clark County delays decision on 'more cops' sales tax hike - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Clark County delays decision on 'more cops' sales tax hike

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The Clark County Commission chambers was filled to capacity as members mulled a vote on raising the sales tax for the hiring of more cops. (Christian Cazares/FOX5) The Clark County Commission chambers was filled to capacity as members mulled a vote on raising the sales tax for the hiring of more cops. (Christian Cazares/FOX5)
The Commission chambers was standing room capacity for Tuesday's meeting on the "more cops" sales tax debate. (Christian Cazares/FOX5) The Commission chambers was standing room capacity for Tuesday's meeting on the "more cops" sales tax debate. (Christian Cazares/FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Since last year, there are fewer police patrolling the streets of the Las Vegas Valley, and crime has risen.

Clark County Commissioners, on Tuesday, debated a sales tax increase, in order to fund the "more cops" proposal. Not all of the commissioners are on board with it. A vote on the proposal was delayed, so more information could be gathered.

Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie has said that more commissioned officers will make the Valley safer. In the past three years, the number of Metro officers has dropped from about 3,000 to about 2,500.

When the economic downturn hit the Valley, local government suffered, resulting in fewer officers.

The overall crime rate in Metro's jurisdiction is up 9 percent from last year. The sales tax increase, if approved, would be .15 cents.

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak isn't sold. He said additional taxes on residents may not be in the public's best interest.

"I'm not convinced if you put more officers out there, more officers that are going to be in traffic, that you're necessarily going to eliminate a lot of crime," he said.

Under the plan, the sales tax rate would increase from 8.1 percent to 8.25 percent, resulting in a $30-million boost, enough to save about 250 jobs at Metro, and allow for the hiring of up to 100 officers.

Sisolak believes that instead of raising taxes, the department's existing funds could simply be reallocated.

"We are in an emergency situation regarding our budgets, and hopefully in the next two to three years, the economy starts [rebounding], we generate more property tax revenue, and we shouldn't be in this situation again," Sisolak said.

The tax would be Valley-wide, meaning the Henderson and North Las Vegas police departments would benefit as well.

If the proposal passes, the tax hike would take effect in October. It would remain in effect for the next 12 years.

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