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Pahrump business license model may be reviewed

The way business owners enter the Pahrump market could get a review.

County Commissioner Donna Cox suggested that the process to open a business in town be reviewed in favor of an overhaul of the business license model in more of a registry-type system.

“What I would like to do is see a committee set up to sit down and go over the entire business license,” said Cox during the commission meeting March 17. “Because to start, with maybe as a county we have a way to enforce it, but the town never had a way to enforce it ... I would love to see this all looked at and redone.”

The discussion came during a business license presentation to the commission by Alexandra Crow, business license technician for the Town of Pahrump. While Pahrump requires a business license, the county does not.

Crow said the benefits of requiring a business license include making sure every business receives a fire inspection, regulation of firearm and liquor businesses, verify they are paying taxes, and and overseeing health requirements. In addition, Crow explained the business license model helps regulate issues with peddlers in town, a group that generates a lot of complaints.

“We receive several calls several times a day asking to make sure the peddler has a business license,” Crow said.

Revenue generated by business license purchases was just over $148,000 in 2014, Crow said. But the department cost around $140,000 to operate, leaving a net gain of approximately $8,000.

The revenue is down from $151,096 received in 2013, but still up significantly from the $115,000 recorded in 2012.

Crow said the revenue increase was driven by a license fee change to cover additional costs of the town’s business license department.

A potential business owner must first obtain a Nevada state business license, which costs $200 for a sole proprietor, issued by the the Secretary of the State. The potential business owner must then acquire a Pahrump business license that is sold on a tiered system.

Michael Sullivan, the town’s finance director, said the additional fees were used to staff enforcement and the office, and there are plans to obtain some software to connect to the state’s business license database.

A contractor must also apply for a business license prior to obtaining their permits, to ensure their contracting license is in accordance with state protocol.

For a Pahrump resident, a business license for a sole proprietor runs $50, and $60 for a partnership. A limited-liability company or a corporation with under 100 employees costs $75, while a license for a limited-liability company or corporation with over 100 employees requires a $100 fee.

A non-local will have to expend $150 for a business license.

Applicants must also pay $50 for a fire inspection of the building and a $10 fee for planning preview zoning of the site, but that is separate from business licensing.

A person who makes less than 66.5 percent of the average wage in town, or $27,800 per year, and runs their business out of their home can apply for an exempt business license. This doesn’t mean they are exempt from obtaining a license, just that they are exempt from paying the fee to acquire one, Crow said.

Exempt businesses include arts and crafts, online sales and cottage food entities.

A nonprofit must pay a $5 fee to operate. A state-issued business license is still required for those that have an exempt license.

There have been 80 new business licenses issued in the first few months of the year, Crow said.

“(Business licenses) promote safety and the quality of our neighborhood,” Crow said.

Cox said some business owners have approached her and would like to see business licensing replaced with a simpler business registry.

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