By Jack Johnson, Boulder City Review
When City Manager Vicki Mayes occasionally drove a new car to work, some started wondering about the 2010 Nissan GT-R sports vehicle’s Montana license plate.
This is because Mayes and husband Denny Mayes, a retired city landscaping supervisor, both live in Boulder City and do not, Vicki Mayes said, own property in Montana. A Nevada state law says that if you live here, you must have your car registered here.
The sleek, white machine is registered to the Montana limited-liability company, Amayesd. Vicki Mayes said it is a company her husband set up after they took a trip to Montana. They decided it might be a nice place to spend summers, she said, somewhere he could have a business.
“He was just looking ahead,” she said.
Currently, there is no operating business, she said, and they don’t even know what the business might yet be.
Due to Nevada’s relatively high registration fees, many residents save money by illegally registering their vehicles in another state, the Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Kevin Malone said.
“For a private person, if you live here and you work here, you have to register your car here,” he said.
But even if there were an operating business, Malone said, it wouldn’t change anything.
“If you form a company in another state, that’s no excuse,” he said.
Malone said there is a type of registration out-of-state businesses can get, called an apportioned registration, where the business pays for how much time the vehicle spends on Nevada roads.
But if Denny Mayes’ registration was apportioned, it would say it on the plate, and it does not.
Mayes said that her personal vehicle, an Audi SUV, is registered in Nevada.
And “as far as she knows,” Amayesd is not her company, and that the registration is entirely her husband’s business decision, which she believes to be legal.
“There are exceptions under the laws,” she said.
City Attorney Dave Olsen also said he was “vaguely aware” of the vehicle’s registration, and also thought it was legal.
“As far as I can tell it’s not that big of a deal,” he said. “If the corporation owns the asset, that’s all there is to it.”
Boulder City Police officer Craig Tomao said the police department was also aware of the Nissan’s Montana plates, but did nothing.
“(Chief Thomas Finn) knew about it, everybody knew about it,” Tomao said.
Finn, who works under Mayes, did not return phone calls by press time.
Though 2009 legislation gave the state’s constable offices the authority to issue citations for registration violations, according to Boulder Township Constable Jim Reed, the Boulder Township Constable has not done so.
“We haven’t really been going out and taking an active enforcement role. We’ve been leaving that to the Boulder City Police Department,” he said.
The Boulder City Police Department recently almost lost two officers to budget cuts, if the Police Protective Association did not agree to wage concessions.
Vicki Mayes said the cuts were an adjustment for the state’s declining tax revenues.
If the Nissan was purchased at its Kelley Blue Book value of about $83,000, the registration cost would have been about $1,500 in Nevada.
This is money Malone said goes toward the Nevada’s schools and roads.
Mayes could have avoided paying $6,700 in Nevada sales tax if the car was purchased in Montana, according to a KLAS-TV news report Tuesday night.
Mayes told the Boulder City Review on Wednesday she did not know which state the car was purchased in.
According to Tomao, who also serves as the vice president of the association, “I have to do it, you have to do it, she should have to do it. The state of Nevada is in a state of peril. It needs the money.”
Mayes, who made a base salary of about $180,000 last year, said she realizes that this may not look good.
“I understand what the public perception is,” she said. “My husband understands what the public perception is. He was a public employee, but this was a business decision he made. As far as I know, I’m not a part of it.”