Las Vegas Sun

September 26, 2017

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Clark County OKs $1.3 billion budget, with focus on public safety

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Mikayla Whitmore

A look at various activities during Metro training in Las Vegas, Nev. on April 20, 2017. The training offered a behind the police tape view during an officer-involved shooting.

Clark County Commissioners on Monday approved a budget of $1.3 billion for the upcoming fiscal year, a $25 million increase over the current fiscal year.

Approximately half of the budget is allocated to public safety. The budget includes funds to help hire an additional 67 police officers and 47 civilian positions as Metro, as well as 18 officers at the Clark County Detention Center. The additional positions will put Metro’s staffing ratio at two officers for every 1,000 residents.

The budget also sets aside $4.3 million for additional staff positions across the county. Commissioners will make decisions on those sometime in July, after finance staff reviews department requests and prepares its recommendations.

The county is projecting a $43.7 million — or 3.4 percent — increase in general fund revenues to offset the 1.9 percent increase in operating expenses. The property tax rate will remain the same but new construction and increased values of existing properties are expected to bring 4.1 percent more than the current year.

The 2018 fiscal year begins July 1.

During their special meeting to approve the budget, commissioners also identified several related issues they want to address in the near future.

Most notably: parks and recreation. That department will receive $1.7 million in next year’s budget after not receiving any allocations for the previous seven years. Department staff is currently evaluating its fee levels and program costs and is expected to present its findings to the commission for discussion and possible action sometime next month.

Commissioner Larry Brown asked for a briefing or future agenda item on infrastructure projects funded by the fuel revenue indexing, which county voters agreed in November to extend for another decade.

Commissioners Mary Beth Scow and Marilyn Kirkpatrick requested a breakdown showing what percentage of the county budget goes toward salaries and how that stacks up against comparable counties and the local city governments.

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