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Town to hire code enforcer

The Town of Pahrump is taking action on those who choose not to obtain business licenses while doing business within the community.

Board members this week voted to approve the hiring of a code enforcement officer to make sure residents are adhering to town ordinances.

The board approved the first step in hiring an officer by a 3-2 vote with members Bob Adams and Amy Riches giving an adamant thumbs down on the idea.

Pahrump Town Ordinance 35 requires that anyone obtain a license when conducting any business activity within town limits.

Town Manager Susan Holecheck told the board that she speaks daily to concerned residents, many of whom are local business owners who do have licenses.

She noted that their number one beef is lack of enforcement for those who don’t comply with local laws.

“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t get a phone call about code enforcement. I’ve been working with Alex, our business license technician on this as well,” she said.

According to the job description, the officer will enforce ordinances both out in the field and in the office to assure compliance.

One important element that was brought up was the overall scope and authority the official would have while performing daily duties.

Town attorney Bret Meich suggested the issue is yet to be determined.

“As you know, the town doesn’t have its own court system or prosecution ability. His or her job would be to investigate and document complaints and do the necessary work to get these individuals in compliance. If that can’t happen, this person would have a significant file evidencing the violations of town ordinances where the town in turn, if management deems it worthy, can turn over to the district attorney’s office for prosecution. But the ideal solution, of course, would be voluntary compliance,” he said.

Local street vendors who sell food seemed to trouble Riches the most.

“The people who sell fruit and tamales, I would like to see them gone. They should go to the farmer’s market. You don’t know what that is fertilized with. I think it’s very unhealthy to sell tamales from the back of a truck and I don’t want someone to get sick,” she said.

On the other hand, Riches said she did not have a problem with individuals holding garage and yard sales on a regular basis.

“People having garage sales should not be bothered,” she said.

Meich helped to clarify why some who have garage sales may technically be exempt from getting a business license.

“If someone has an occasional garage or yard sale, it’s not an issue. On the other hand if someone sets up monthly, as a quote un-quote garage sale, it’s a little bit more than your three or four times annually garage sale. The opportunity to change that would be in the business license ordinance. If you want to make a change to that, you would have to go back and revise the business license ordinance,” Meich said.

On the issue of how much authority the officer would have, board member Dr. Tom Waters said after speaking with District Attorney Brian Kunzi, he was assured the town has the full support of Kunzi’s office pertaining to repeat violations.

“Mr Kunzi stated that he would enforce Town of Pahrump ordinances as long as we did it the right way,” he said.

The board eventually approved the item at a salary range between $11.65 and $17.47 an hour.

The position will be part time.

In other town business, board members also approved updating job descriptions for town staff as well as the town’s recent audit prepared by Dan McArthur.