budget process for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD). LVMPD was formed in 1973 as a result of the merger of the Las Vegas Police Department with the Clark County Sheriff's Department. LVMPD serves the city limits of Las Vegas along with unincorporated areas of Clark County.
LVMPD is funded by the City of Las Vegas and Clark County. Police department funding is based on a complex formula determined by population, calls for service, and the number of felony crimes from the previous year. Both city and county governments must approve not just the annual operating budget, but also their respective percentage of the budget. In addition to funding supplied by the two governments, the department itself generates approximately one-third of its funds though property tax and the charging for certain services, such as special events. A special sales tax to fund commissioned positions generates additional funding.
The Law Enforcement Study Committee created the draft of what was to become Senate Bill 340, which activated the LVMPD on July 1, 1973. The Bill provided for a Police Commission to approve the budget and oversee budgetary expenditures as had been done by each of the former Departments' respective Commissions. The Bill also provided a method for funding the LVMPD and designated the Nevada Tax Commission as the arbitrator for any disputes which might arise between the City and County Commissions relative to the funding formula (LVMPD About Us, n.d.).
The LVMPD budget is a plan for revenues and expenditures for the fiscal year July 1 through June 30. Department programs, personnel and purchases are presented for funding through the budget process based upon the goal, objectives and measurement of performance of each department unit. The budget is developed as a program budget and presented as a line item budget for ease of review. The LVMPD budget process undergoes three thorough reviews of police funding by the Fiscal Affairs Committee, City of Las Vegas Council, and Clark County Commission.
The Police Department begins budget preparation in September of each year, ten months prior to budget implementation. From April through May each year, the LVMPD budget is reviewed in City and County budget hearings and meetings, and is then submitted to the State of Nevada Department of Taxation as part of the Clark County Annual Budget. The following schedule makes up the annual budget calendar for the review process:
Annual Budget Calendar
Funding Apportionment Plan presented to Fiscal Affairs Committee
Tentative Budget submitted to Fiscal Affairs Committee for review by City of Las Vegas Council and Clark County Commission
Final Budget approved by Fiscal Affairs Committee then submitted to City and County
City and County budget hearings conducted by City Council and County Commission
Prior to June 1
City and County approve budgets for submission to the State of Nevada Department of Taxation
Fiscal Affairs Committee budget oversight agenda items each month
(LVMPD Budget-in-Brief, 2011).
The amended final budget request represents a decrease of $10.7 million, or 2.2% in self-generated revenues as a result of further reductions in property valuations, a major funding source. The LVMPD final budget uses $44.4 million from a reserve fund balance to offset the continued shortfall in dedicated property tax revenue and the decreased level of funding from the City of Las Vegas and Clark County. The budget request includes the elimination of 58 additional civilian positions, 118 commissioned positions, and 4 temporary positions. The total number of budgeted full-time positions in this operating fund is 3,473 including 2,184 commissioned and 1,279 civilians (LVMPD Amended Final Budget, 2011).
The current fiscal year budget request totals $501,307,011. A contract totaling $18,879,231 with the Department of Aviation for police services at the Las Vegas Airport offsets expenditures in that budget unit. As required by NRS 280 (Nevada legislation establishing the funding formula), the total amount to be distributed between the City of Las Vegas and Clark County is $307,321,872. The funding formula requires that 38.4% or $118,011,599 be contributed by the City, a reduction from FY 2010/11 of 9.4% or $12,286,419. The County's contribution is 61.6% or $189,260,273, a reduction of 7.5% or $15,398,052 (LVMPD Amended Final Budget, 2011).
Issues for the LVMPD budget process result from the recession and the decline in property values which have created budget shortfalls. Police Department attempts to close these budget gaps is generating significant controversy. According to the Las Vegas Sun, for the first time in its 37-year history, LVMPD's budget was smaller than the…