Sheriff presents 2009-10 budget with $18.6 million in cuts

With an economic black cloud lingering over Southern Nevada, Sheriff Doug Gillespie unveiled a tentative budget Monday morning that includes no growth over last year’s budget.

In presenting the budget to the Metropolitan Police Department Fiscal Affairs Committee, Gillespie said his agency made $18.6 million in cuts to limit the fiscal year 2009-2010 budget to $549 million.

“We understand we are in difficult economic times,” he told the board, which includes members of the Las Vegas City Council and Clark County Commission.

After property taxes and other payments, the city would pay about $137 million of the budget and the county would be responsible for $216 million.

The department saved money through several changes, including cutting 26 full-time and 13 temporary civilian jobs, replacing larger vehicles with smaller ones, and slicing training and travel by 40 percent, Gillespie said.

Further savings could come if the agency’s three employee unions agree to pay cuts. Gillespie said he would lead the way by passing on a scheduled pay raise in July.

The proposed budget includes $24.7 million for capital projects, such as building a new substation on the west side of the valley, improving the shooting range and expanding the 911 call center. Those projects will not require additional funding from the city or county.

Neither will the more than 600 officers hired under the More Cops sales tax initiative. The department plans to add 140 officers by the summer to the 460 already hired through the quarter-cent tax increase since 2005. That revenue was not included in the budget Gillespie presented Monday.

Gillespie credited the extra officers to last year’s significant drop in crime within his agency’s jurisdiction of Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County.

Overall crime fell 13 percent last year, fueled in part by a 34 percent decrease in auto thefts and a 7 percent drop in violent crime.

The city and county will review the department’s tentative budget in coming months before it is finalized and voted on by the Fiscal Affairs Committee. It must be approved by the City Council and County Commission by June 1.

Contact reporter Brian Haynes at or 702-383-0281.

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