Sheriff says City receives ‘fair share’ of law enforcement services

Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

The City of Fernley has termed its quest to secure a greater share of the state’s Consolidated Tax as “Fighting for its Fair Share.”

But when it comes to law enforcement services, Lyon County Sheriff Al McNeil says, the city is getting more than its fair share.

Speaking to the Fernley City Council on March 1, McNeil said about 38 percent of the Sheriff’s Office budget is spent within the City of Fernley, which produces 40.4 percent of the county’s call volume.

Lyon County Sheriff Al McNeil

McNeil said the Sheriff’s Office annual budget is about $11.8 million. Of that, $4,545,501 is spent in Fernley. That amount includes $1,609,325 on wages and benefits for assigned staff and $2,936,176 on what McNeil termed “Law Enforcement Consumption,” which he said includes investigative services, records and professional services, operational services and supplies, communication center services, and detention services.

McNeil said to get to the same level, the city would have to spend between $5 million and $5.5 million if it provided its own police department.

“This paints a very clear picture to what share the city is getting,” McNeil said. “The numbers speak for themselves.”

The Sheriff’s Office patrol staff is divided into three districts. The Fernley district includes 37.4 percent of the county’s population, and McNeil said the city’s fair share of its budget, based solely on its percentage of the county’s population, would be $4,423,403.

By contract, the Dayton district, which includes Mound House, Silver City and Stagecoach, has 48.3 percent of the population, produces 33.5 percent of the county’s calls for service and receives $3,826,502 of the Sheriff’s Office Budget.

The Walker River district, which includes Smith Valley, Silver Springs and Mason Valley, excluding the city limits of Yerington, encompasses has 14.3 percent of the county’s population, generates 26.1 percent of its calls and receives $3,455,280 of its budget.

In his weekly Facebook update, McNeil said he will not become involved in the discussion over the  C-Tax question, or whether the city should pay for law enforcement services, saying those are political questions for County Commissioners and the City Council.

“The numbers support that Fernley gets more than its ‘fair share’ of public safety dollars even with the least amount of population and land mass,” McNeil said.

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