By Conor Shine
THE LAS VEGAS SUN
After nine months of public debate, behind-the-scenes lobbying and one special session of the Legislature, Clark County residents will learn Tuesday whether the sales tax they pay will be going up later this year.
Clark County Commissioners will consider the tax hike proposal, which would pay for more Metro police officers, when they hold their regular meeting Tuesday at 9:15 a.m. at the Clark County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway.
Officer levels have dropped by more than 10 percent at Metro Police in recent years due to the recession and $60 million in budget cuts.
The .15-cent sales tax increase proposal, which would raise sales tax rate to 8.25 percent, would allow the department to retain 250 officers positions that are currently on the chopping block and add up to 100 more officers in coming years, Sheriff Doug Gillespie has said.
The bill authorizing the sales tax increase was approved by the Legislature in a special session in June and now needs a rare supermajority vote from the commission before it can be imposed. If it receives the five votes needed to pass, the sales tax increase would go into effect in October and stay in place through 2025.
The commission’s decision could hinge on a single vote, as commissioners Steve Sisolak and Chris Giunchigliani have expressed skepticism about using the sales tax to fund Metro and whether those extra dollars would actually lead to more officers on the street.
A December resolution supporting legislative efforts to authorize the tax hike was approved by the commission 5 to 2, with Sisolak and Giunchigliani in opposition. If commissioners vote the same way Tuesday, the sales tax will pass.