YERINGTON - County officials want stiffer penalties for businesses that do not pay license fees on time.
Lyon County business license deputy Pam Rodeman said the handful of late payments each quarter are generally the same business owners.
"I would like to see stronger consequences, but an ordinance change is needed," Rodeman said. "I have no particular recommendations, but if the commissioners decide to make a change I will research it."
Rodeman said the handful of businesses scheduled for last Thursday's revocation hearings, for fees due on Oct. 1, included one business that has never paid on time since it opened, one that has been late the last several years, and one that has been late three times since a management change.
All avoided revocation and paid before Thursday's hearing, including one payment, in the form of a money order, relayed from Dayton by sheriff's deputies minutes before the scheduled hearing.
Rodeman also noted the Dayton business did not pick up the certified letter of notification, requiring it to be hand-served by sheriff's deputies two days before the hearing.
A 15-percent penalty is assessed on the quarterly fees 15 days after they are due. Fees are due the first day of each quarter. Three notices are sent before a business license is put up for revocation. A final notice is sent as a registered letter.
"We usually get payment with the first notice. This month we had six who were notified of the revocation hearing by certified mail, at $2.98 per letter," Rodeman said. "Aside from the costs to the county in money and staff time involved, that means these businesses were serving food and drinks for two months with no valid license. I don't feel that is right."
Commissioners made several suggestions, including raising the penalty to 100 percent of the quarterly fee or assessing a per day penalty charge.
County Manager Stephen Snyder said the issue will be considered by the Finance and Revenue Committee and brought back to the board with recommendations.