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Sparks ponders bill draft request
by Sarah Cooper
Jul 10, 2010 | 1691 views | 2 2 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<a href= mailto:dreid@dailysparkstribune.com>Tribune file/Debra Reid</a> - Sparks police and federal marshals searched a west Sparks neighborhood in April 2008 for a robbery suspect considered armed and dangerous. Students at Kate Smith Elementary and Sparks High schools were locked down after the man was spotted in the area. The Sparks City Council could use its bill draft request to raise sales tax to hire more officers.
Tribune file/Debra Reid - Sparks police and federal marshals searched a west Sparks neighborhood in April 2008 for a robbery suspect considered armed and dangerous. Students at Kate Smith Elementary and Sparks High schools were locked down after the man was spotted in the area. The Sparks City Council could use its bill draft request to raise sales tax to hire more officers.
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SPARKS – Tight deadlines mean a potential all-in or all-out situation for the Sparks City Council Monday regarding a tax hike to fund public safety.

Ahead of a July 19 deadline with the Washoe County Registrar of Voters, the council must make a decision on sending the 0.25 percent sales tax increase to the November ballot as an advisory question.

City officials say the proposed increase would generate about $3.6 million a year, which would pay for 25 new police positions. Besides hiring and equipping the officers, money also would be used for five non-officer positions lost through recent budget cuts.

If the voters approve the tax, Sparks will need help from the Nevada Legislature to implement it. Enter the city’s one and only Bill Draft Request (BDR).

City Council members also will be asked Monday to decide on their annual petition to the Legislature, which the Sparks Police Department hopes will be a petition for the increased taxes. However, the BDR would be a moot point if the voters turn down the tax.

“If they put it on the ballot and if it’s successful on the ballot, then we would be looking to the Legislature for enabling legislation,” said Sparks Assistant City Manager Steve Driscoll. “We won’t know until November if the citizens are in favor but we have to start the BDR process.”

All bill draft requests from area cities are due to the Legislature by September.

“That’s part of the decision they have to make,” Driscoll said of the council’s position.

For the advisory question, voters would be asked, “Do you support an increase in the sales tax of Sparks of one-quarter percent for the purpose of hiring and equipping more police officers and police support personnel to better serve and protect the citizens?”

This year’s BDR isn’t the city’s first effort to help increase the police force. A similar 0.25 percent sales-tax hike for public safety went before voters in 2006 as part of a countywide ballot measure. It passed in Sparks and Reno, but failed in Washoe County, derailing Sparks’ efforts to hire additional police officers.

Officials said the city has 108 sworn officers, down from a peak of 121 in 2009. They said that work force is about 66 short of national standards for a city its size.
Comments
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C.W.
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July 14, 2010
I can't believe the people who are yelling that they don't want to pay for police protection. Will they still be saying that when crime is effecting them? NO wonder Hot August Nights is leaving. No one will come here because people don't want to invest in the area. Reno/Sparks is going to be a ghost town.
sparks345
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July 11, 2010
People are out of work,There's no jobs. We the people bale out the banks.This government is doing nothing for the people and you want to raise tax's.

NO NEW TAX'S

You don't need to wait tell Nov.to see if the people are in favor of this.I can tell you right now NO NEW TAX'S.

The city like the government need to stop spending and wasting are money

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