Clark Co. Commission rejects 'More Cops' tax hike - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Clark Co. Commission rejects 'More Cops' tax hike

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Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie made a final pitch to the Clark County Board of Commissioners on a tax hike to fund the hiring of more officers. (Azenith Smith/FOX5) Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie made a final pitch to the Clark County Board of Commissioners on a tax hike to fund the hiring of more officers. (Azenith Smith/FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

A sales tax hike that would have funded Las Vegas Metro police failed to pass in the Clark County Commission on Tuesday.

After nearly five hours of comments from the public, as well as remarks from Sheriff Doug Gillespie, the Board of Commissioners struck down proposed hikes of 0.15 percent and 0.075 percent in split votes.

A two-thirds vote, or five "yes" votes, were required among the seven commissioners for the tax to pass.

The two options were presented in prior meetings leading up to Tuesday's vote. Gillespie pitched for the 0.15 percent increase while a compromise was made on lowering the hike to 0.075 percent. County commissioners voted against both proposals.

In the past, Gillespie argued crime has risen over the last three years while the police force has gotten smaller, from about 3,000 to the current 2,500.

"I'm frustrated no action was taken," said Gillespie. "You would have to ask the commissioners what the disconnect is. Crime is up and number of officers is down."

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.

Commissioner Steve Sisolak, though, argued whether additional taxes were in the public's best interest.

Sisolak and fellow Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani were viewed as the most outspoken opponents of the tax hike.

"What is the intent of this tax?" asked Giunchigliani. "Is it to fill a structural deficit to fill a hole? Or is to actually put police officers on the street? Or is it to do the former than the later?"

The failure of the tax increase could mean cuts in services from Metro. Gillespie wouldn't go into any specifics but he says he doesn't plan on laying off any officers.

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