Troutdale City Council Repeals 55-year-old Fee on Pool Tables, Video Games
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/30/2012 -- The city of Troutdale, a suburb of Portland, repealed a 55-year-old ‘amusement device’ fee in a short city council meeting this last Tuesday. The fee paid to the city by twelve local business owners netted Tualatin $4,500 in revenue and had been required by local law since 1957 on pool tables, video game machines and jukeboxes within the city.
City finance director Erich Mueller described a vote to end the fee as a vote to “enhance the economic viability of businesses which profit from amusement devices”, while a vote to uphold the decades-old law “preserves a revenue source that supports all Troutdale residents, businesses and guests.”
Local pub owner Stayce Blume is happy to see the fee go: “I was being penalized for having something for people to do besides drink.” Blume, owner of Skyland Pub on Stark Street, said that she paid $1,800 in fees for pool tables, a shuffleboard table, air hockey and video games within the pub, assessed at $55 per machine.
City staff responded that the fees make up for city costs expended at the establishments, noting that police calls to locations with amusement devices are “notably higher” than those without. The annual fee, they said, did not even cost the cost of a single police call.
Blume said that the amusement devices make her about $20,000 per year, but notes that such income is “not even a month of payroll.”
Other small business owners that paid the $55 per machine fee had complained to the council in April that the fees hurt their businesses and felt that it was unfair that, since the city doesn’t have the resources to enforce the fee, many establishments simply do not pay, knowing they will likely not be caught.
The city of Troutdale faces an estimated $97,000 budget shortfall in the 2012 fiscal year due to falling assessed property taxes.
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