NC Council adopts simplified business license tax methodolgy |

NC Council adopts simplified business license tax methodolgy

Through a vote of 5-0, the Nevada City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance during a meeting on Wednesday night to repeal the existing business license tax measure in order to lower the cost of application and to improve customer service, said city officials.

“The current ordinance has more than 30 methodologies, which is a lot for many cities, much less a smaller city like Nevada City,” said City Manager Mark Prestwich.

According to the city documents, the existing business license ordinance was approved 58 years ago. Rates have not been changed since 1993. In addition to the complicated structure, the legislation also included pro-rating and quarter payment options that increased the time required by city staff to process the license tax.

“I am happy with this,” said Mayor Jennifer Ray. She added that the outdated structure of the current ordinance needed changes.

The new ordinance will eliminate the pro-rating and quarter payment options. In addition, the tax rates would depend on how many employees a business has, said Prestwich.

For example, a business with 10 or more employees will be required to pay $150 annually. A business with nine or fewer employees will be paying $100 a year.

The rates will also be adjusted annually based on inflation and would be calculated using the consumer price index.

City officials said the rates would be placed on the ballot for the next municipal election in 2016 so voters will have a final say.

The simplified methodology would result in $10,000 to $13,000 additional annual revenue for the city, said Prestwich.

During Wednesday night’s meeting, the city council also approved a second reading of an ordinance to speed up the permitting procedures for small residential rooftop solar energy systems, which is a requirement put forth by the state.

The first reading, which was approved by the city council on Sept. 23, prompted concern from some council members “over the effect that unrestricted ministerial approval of such systems could have on the city’s historic buildings,” according to city documents.

Hal DeGraw, consulting city attorney, pointed out during the meeting that the ordinance only concerns residential rooftops, not business rooftops.

In addition, the state legislation made no exception to residential areas in regards to historical values.

To reduce adverse effects that might be caused by the ordinance, DeGraw integrated three checklist items for the review process, which will help evaluate businesses to make sure they are not degrading the historical values of the city buildings throughout their installation processes.

In order to be approved, the applicant has to prove that the system is designed and located as inconspicuously as possible, no larger than necessary, and of a style and color to blend in.

A reading of the checklist items will take place during the city council meeting on Oct. 28, DeGraw said.

To contact Staff Writer Teresa Yinmeng Liu, please call 530-477-4236, or email

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