Pahrump Valley Times

Brothel fees to go up in Nye County

A tiered system for brothel fees based on the number of women working on the floor will be raised by 25 percent in Nye County.

At the Tuesday meeting, Nye County Commission Chairman Dan Schinhofen initially proposed a flat $36,000 annual fee per license. Commissioner Lorinda Wichman, however, suggested an amendment following a heated debate about proposed increases with brothel owner Dennis Hof.

“I would have preferred to eliminate the tiered fee structure and set a flat fee as suggested by Dan, however, there are times one must compromise in order to move through the county business. I didn’t feel, at the time, that the board could achieve consensus unless there was a compromise,” Wichman said in a statement after the Tuesday meeting.

Wichman said the increase of 25 percent will adjust the existing fee schedule upward.

Application fees for a brothel license are going to be $5,000, and amended application fees will be $1,500. Quarterly and annual registration fees are going to be $150, according to the documents.

Nye County officials said the increases are necessary to cover the increased cost of the periodic inspections by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office at the county’s brothels and processing of the paperwork.

“Inspecting the Chicken Ranch is no different than inspecting the Alien Cathouse. Inspection is inspection, and that’s one of the reasons we need to have fees raised,” Schinhofen said.

Hof called the initially proposed $36,000 annual fee “unconscionable” and said his business wouldn’t be able to sustain the proposed increase.

“I can’t afford to pay that. And basically, a tax increase like this would put me out of business, and a lot of people would be unemployed and a lot of working girls wouldn’t be working,” Hof told commissioners.

The fees from brothels currently go into the veterans fund within Nye County’s general budget. The funds go into the general fund, and officials later isolate funds from the general fund for a specific purpose, such as veterans’ needs.

Arnold Knightly, Nye County spokesman, said the county approved $65,000 for the veterans fund for fiscal year 2018, a number that is similar every year.

“Fees from brothels have never fully funded that account, so the county puts in at least $30,000,” Knightly said. “Even with the fee increases, the county will need to continue to subsidize the fund to reach the $65,000 level in the future.”

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77