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Sheriff Rounds Third in Quest for Cop Tax Support

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(photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Las Vegas CBS KXNT- Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie made another in a series of presentations on Wednesday, lining up regional support for a quarter-cent sales tax increase to augment police department budgets in southern Nevada. The Sheriff sought and won a resolution from the Las Vegas City Council, which he’s likely to add to a thickening folder of similar documents from other jurisdictions.

Las Vegas joined Clark County and the cities of North Las Vegas, Mesquite, Boulder City, approving the resolution by 6-1.

Gillespie needs to demonstrate support from the government entities affected when the state legislature declined in 2009 to validate the second portion of a voter-approved sales tax.  He told the Clark County Commission on Tuesday that the first question lawmakers will ask when he appears in Carson City to repeat the request next year is whether local governments are behind him. County commissioners,  too voted to adopt the resolution, by 5-2.

The incomplete sales tax increase dates back to 2004, when Clark County voters gave the nod to a one-half cent sales tax increase for the purpose of hiring more police officers.  The increase was to take place in quarter-cent increments, with half going into effect in 2005 and the remaining half in 2009.

But when law enforcement appeared in Carson City four years ago asking the legislature to implement the second phase, the economy had crashed and lawmakers withheld their approval.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman and several city council members expressed mild outrage today that the second portion of the tax was not granted, suggesting state lawmakers had thwarted the will of the voters.

Gillespie told the council the tax will generate between $50 and $53 million, potentiall offsetting a projected $46 million budget shortfall at Las Vegas Metro.

Law enforcement also seeks to remove from the law “supplanting language” that restricts the use of the money. The language was inserted in order to prevent agencies from directing the new sales tax revenue for operational expenses.

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