PAHRUMP, Nev. — The cost of brothel licensing is up for debate in one Nevada county.
Possible changes to the Nye County legalized prostitution ordinance would be the first updates in more than two decades.
Quarterly brothel licensing fees could increase depending on the number of workers while the annual background check fee rises from $5,000 to $7,500.
Brothel owners can make recommendations until Sept. 20 when county commissioners are expected to hear the proposals.
“The intent was to update an ordinance that hadn’t been changed for over 20 years,” said Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly. “Everything goes up, and all we’re trying to do is bring this into today’s economic times.”
Nye County Commissioner Butch Borasky and Wehrly worked together to create the proposal.
The businesses would have to identify anyone with a financial interest and increase health checks for workers.
Brothel owner Dennis Hof said the changes are politically motivated.
“It’s totally political because I’m running for Assembly District 36 and it’s a way to put me in the news in a negative light,” Hof said. “That’s all it is.”
Borasky said the changes were years in the making and not political in nature.
Five brothels pay fees that bring the county $70,000 to $80,000 annually.
Higher fees are expected to add tens of thousands of dollars in 2016-2017.
Some Nevada residents are in favor of the increases.
“I think they should always pay more because they don’t have much money for the city here,” said Ralph Vaccaro. “Pahrump is a mess.”
Valerie Simmons said these businesses “should be paying more because we’re the only county that has the brothels. Nobody else has them.”
Commissioners could approve changes in October.