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Business license proposals could aid Las Vegas Monorail

Las Vegas Monorail Co. stands to benefit from two proposals pending before the Clark County Commission tied to the company’s business license fees.

Both plans relate to the company’s debt-service restructuring, which increased the business license fees the company must pay to operate in Clark County. One would split the higher fees the Monorail Co. had to pay after restructuring debt. The other would change how business license fees are calculated.

The proposed agreement between the county and Las Vegas Monorail Co. refunds to the company half the increased business license fees it paid the county during the 18-month period from January 2013 through last June 30. Under that agreement, the company will see $246,213.78 returned, and the county can keep the other half. The county also gets to keep the guaranteed minimum payment of $75,000. The amount paid during that time was $567,427.56, including the $75,000 minimum.

The other proposal would change the business license fee structures for monorails and other fixed-guideway transportation systems so that they are no longer calculated with a formula that factors in the amount paid for debt service.

The Monorail Co. must pay the larger of either $12,000 a quarter or 2 percent of gross revenue after reducing the amount paid for debt service. Under the new proposal, Las Vegas Monorail Co. would pay the larger of two options: a minimum payment of $12,500 a quarter, adjusted annually for inflation, or 0.25 percent of gross revenue each quarter.

That amounts to a minimum of $75,000 for an 18-month period or $50,000 annually.

The company filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and greatly reduced its debt service through restructuring. With the debt service lowered, the monorail’s business license fees spiked.

Monorail spokeswoman Ingrid Reisman said that after the debt restructuring, fees rose eightfold. The changes will bring the fees back to what’s comparable to what other franchisees pay, she said.

‘“This action, we believe, is a fair action,” she said.

Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said the company raised a legitimate concern about the costs, and deemed the settlement “fair and reasonable.”

“I don’t think there was a problem with what we were charging in that we were following the contract,” she said. “I don’t think anybody anticipated the increase.”

Las Vegas Monorail Co., a nonprofit company, projects that it will log more than 4.5 million rides this year.

The Commission will vote on both matters Tuesday.

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