Sheriff, commissioners continue debate over 'More Cops' initiati - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Sheriff, commissioners continue debate over 'More Cops' initiative

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The debate over a proposed sales tax increase to raise funds for more police remains embroiled in dispute.

Clark County commissioners and Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie are at odds. At issue is a proposed sales tax hike which would bring the rate to 8.25 percent in order to help make up Metro's $30 million budget shortfall.

One commissioner has an alternate plan to the More Cops bill. While Commissioner Susan Brager agrees that the county needs more police officers, she says she doesn't want it to overburden taxpayers.

Brager is proposing a tax increase of half of the amount police want. Another commissioner wants the tax hike off the table completely.

"As sheriff of Clark County, I've got a huge amount of responsibility, as well as my organization, to providing a level of safety," Gillespie said during a meeting with commissioners Tuesday.

Brager said her plan would raise $25 million a year, enough to pay for 125 new officers.

Neither the sheriff's nor Brager's idea sits well with Commissioner Steve Sisolak.

"We allocate a budget to Metro. Metro has to learn to live within [its] budget. We cannot continue to raise taxes and put these increases on the backs of people when we are giving raises," Sisolak said.

Citing examples such as a $40 million debacle involving radios and a helicopter ride given to a Guns N' Roses guitarist, Sisolak said he can't help but question Metro's use of funds.

Clark County commissioners will hold a public hearing on the issue on Oct. 1. The proposed tax hike could be put to a vote during that meeting.

If commissioners approve a tax increase, it would go into effect in January 2014.

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