LAS VEGAS -- After a meeting that lasted three and half hours, Clark County Commissioners voted down raising the sales tax to pay for more Metro Police officers.
Tuesday's meeting was the third time that Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie went before the commission to make his pitch to raise taxes to pay for more officers.
The sheriff argued that an increase of 15-cents for every $100 spent could help raise more than $200 million by 2020.
"We made a conscious decision not to fill position so to recoup those savings to use as fund balance in the next fiscal year," he said.
The proposal would have raised the sales tax rate by 0.075 percent to pay for 50 new officers. The next year, once the first round of officers were hired, the tax would have gone up another 0.075 percent to pay for another 51 officers.
At least 50 people lined up to express their opinion about the proposal to the county commissioners, including Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman.
"We are trying to bring this community back. It is no community, if we aren't safe," Goodman told the commissioners.
The citizens, on the other hand, were split.
Business owners, like real estate mogul Irwin Molasky, thought a 0.15 percent sales tax rate increase was necessary to have a safer community.
"We as a company have to add security to our offices, our shopping centers where we never had to before." Molasky said.
Other citizens complained of metro's wasteful spending and increased wages.
"I support the officers and the hard work that they do wholeheartedly. What I don't support is those earning $100,000 plus while people are struggling to make their ends meet," Ramond Fletcher said.
It would have taken five commissioners, or a two-thirds of the commission, to pass a tax hike. However, Commissioners Steve Sisolak, Chris Giunchigliani and Susan Brager voted against the hike.
"We were not comfortable with the numbers . And I'm not comfortable with the numbers now," Commissioner Giunchigliani said.
She also felt that the department did not spend the money originally approved by the county to pay for more officers to actually hire more officers.
Following the vote, Commissioner Brager tried to pass an ordinance that would have allowed a vote on the matter in April. It also failed.
In a late afternoon news conference, Sheriff Gillespie said he was not sure why the tax did not pass.
"This was a way to bring some stability to my organization and all other police organizations in southern Nevada. So it disappoints me greatly that the county commission chose not to support it," the sheriff said.
He said he is looking forward to an explanation for the decision.