Sheriff Expects More Cuts if Sales Tax Not Increased - 8 News NOW

Sheriff Expects More Cuts if Sales Tax Not Increased

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LAS VEGAS -- Keeping Las Vegas safe comes at a cost, and Metro Police officials said the department needs more money.

Despite big cuts, the police department is still facing a $46 million deficit.

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said he hopes the state legislature will step up to get more funding for Metro.

The sheriff said Metro is spending almost $500,000 on fuel a month, an example of how costly running a police department can be.

Gillespie said cuts have been made where they can and employees have given concessions, but ultimately the Nevada Legislature needs to raise the sales tax.

"We will continue to look hard in how it is we do business and how it is that we provide our service to continue to deal with this economic downturn," he said.

Gillespie and his staff have crunched the numbers and shared it Wednesday before the Las Vegas City Council.

Since the recession began in Dec. 2007, the police department has cut overtime by 25 percent and travel by 82 percent. More than 1,100 positions have also been cut.

Despite the cuts, Metro has lost $57 million in property tax revenue and are short $35 million from expected city and county contributions. Together, Gillespie said his department has a shortfall of $92 million.

Property owners in Las Vegas are taxpayers and help fund the police department.

Gillespie said the department needs more funding to continue providing the level of service the public expects.

Metro Police and the City of Las Vegas are urging the legislature to approve the second half of the half-cent sales tax increase – a quarter cent -- voters backed in 2004.

If not, the fallout could mean fewer officers working the streets of Las Vegas and layoffs at the City of Las Vegas if the city has to pull funding from other departments to pay for officers.

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