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Clark County, Nev., Revamping Business Licensing System

Clark County, Nev., and the cities of North Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City are designing a one-stop system for business licenses.

by / July 28, 2011
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In about a year, bets won’t be the only thing done quickly on the Las Vegas Strip.

Clark County, Nev., is in the midst of a pilot project that will streamline the business license process for the area’s contractors and enable data sharing between the county and some of its cities.

The county, joined by the cities of North Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City, will either create a central database repository that will store contractor information that’s accessible by each local government, or they’ll integrate their various disparate individual systems.

Laura Fucci, CIO of Clark County, said the goal is for a contractor to walk into Clark County offices, register for a business license and then have the ability to select other jurisdictions at the same time for additional licensure. Currently contractors have to trek to each city they want to work in to repeat the licensing process.

When asked whether the pilot project would also include the ability for contractors to apply online, Jacqueline Holloway, director of Clark County’s Department of Business licensing, said no, calling it a long-term goal if the project goes to a second phase.

Fucci added that the county and cities are working with a business systems analyst to define what functions and requirements are needed by each municipality to develop a multijurisdictional licensing system. The group is just about complete and once finished, Fucci said a technical team will meet to discuss how to make all the data accessible.

“We are trying to design a system that can facilitate the sharing of that data by that date and yet ensure that the system is scalable, because we expect this to be a first set of information that will be shared,” Fucci said, referring to other business licenses that may receive a similar shared treatment in the future.

Holloway said the idea for the pilot project was hatched last year. She explained that elected officials in the county and interested community members discussed streamlining the business license process, which spurred a yearlong assessment on how to make the project a reality.

With the assessment finished, the Nevada Legislature signed SB 110 into law on June 17, which authorizes the changes to contractor business licensing and sets a June 2012 deadline for the project, according to county officials.

Dollars and Sense

Initially the pilot was going to encapsulate all business licenses issued in the county, but due to the vast amount of work and financial commitment involved, it was narrowed down to just contractors in order to get some tangible results a bit sooner.

Fucci said that the costs associated with the pilot project haven’t been established yet. She did say, however, that her team would be identifying those costs, which would ultimately be shared among Clark County and the participating cities.

Holloway added that Clark County did pay for the business assessment that was done for the pilot project, and the county anticipates it will continue to fund some of the meetings and presentations associated with the project as the system is put together.

While the stakeholders believe the project will make the licensure process simpler for contractors, it will also likely save them — and the municipalities — a few dollars. Holloway explained that while individuals will still have to pay a fee to apply for a business license, other costs would be extinguished.

“They will have to pay a fee tax but they will avoid a lot of the administrative costs, such as the application or any investigation fees that are aligned with it [and] any enforcement fees,” Holloway said. “For us, it will ultimately reduce the paperwork and reduce clutter in the process. But of course, our cost savings remain to be seen. They will primarily be back-end costs that we will be able to save as a result of the project.”

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Brian Heaton

Brian Heaton was a writer for Government Technology magazine from 2011 to mid-2015.

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