Sparks City Council Meeting 2/11/2013 2:00:00 PM

    Monday, February 11, 2013 2:00 PM
    745 Fourth St, Sparks, NV 89431

Public Hearing and Action Items Unrelated to Planning and Zoning: 7.1

Title: SECOND READING, of Bill No.2652 Public Hearing and Action Item amending the Sparks Municipal Code relating to Business Licenses; Clarifying and Strengthening Numerous Provisions Regarding Business Licenses, including: Applications; Denials, Audits, Inspections, Delinquencies, Penalties, Expiration, Suspension, Revocation and Criminal Prosecution; Requiring certain Tax-Exempt Activities to obtain a license (at no cost); and providing other matters properly related thereto.
Petitioner/Presenter: Chet Adams, City Attorney/Tom Riley, Contract Attorney for City Attorney
Recommendation: That the City Council instruct the City Clerk to read the FIRST READING of the Bill by title on January 28, 2013 and thereafter publish notice of a SECOND READING and public hearing of the Bill for its adoption and possible approval on February 11, 2013.
Financial Impact: Minimal; No increase in business license fees; Increases penalties for late renewal of license.
Business Impact (Per NRS 237):
A Business Impact Statement is not required. This is a rule but does not impose a direct and significant economic burden on a business, or directly restrict the formation, operation or exemption of a business.
Agenda Item Brief: Revises most provisions of the Sparks business license ordinance; clarifies and strengthens many ambiguous and outdated provisions; comprehensive rebuilding of Sparks business license ordinance to be on equal footing with business license ordinances of Nevada’s largest cities.

Background: The City Attorney’s office has been interpreting the ambiguous and often conflicting provisions of the business license ordinance for decades. In recent efforts to increase enforcement and raise additional revenue for the City, the Business License Accountability Support Team (“BLAST”) was created. Discussions regarding the ordinance’s provisions and the differing interpretations of those provisions made it apparent that the entire ordinance needed restructuring, strengthening and clarification. The proposed ordinance is the result of several BLAST meetings, conversations with BLAST members and substantial research by the City Attorney’s office of other cities’ ordinances and legal decisions interpreting such ordinances. The final proposed ordinance is a balance of enforcement (mainly increased late penalties and stronger criminal provisions) and business owner’s rights (more hearings allowed to dispute the imposition of penalties). It provides a clear, consistent legal framework within which the Finance Director and City Attorney may operate to increase revenue to the City through stricter enforcement.

Analysis: The entire proposed ordinance is summarized in a “section by section” analysis entitled “Summary of 2013 Business License Revision Ordinance.” That summary is included in the City Council’s agenda packet and is available from the City Attorney’s Office upon request.

Alternatives: A “do nothing” alternative merely continues the enforcement problems and recurring legal questions of the current situation. On the other hand, “ultra enforcement” ordinance amendments could damage businesses and deter people from doing business in Sparks. The proposed ordinance takes a balanced approach, giving weight to both reasonable enforcement of the law and a minimalistic interference with day-to-day business operations.

Recommended Motion: I move to approve and adopt Bill No. 2652, the “2013 Business License Revision” Ordinance.

Attached Files:
     Bill #2652 2013 Business License Revision.pdf
     Summary of Business License Revisions Ordinance.pdf
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