City of Butler, PA
Butler County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Butler as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Mercantile license tax — See Ch. 235, Art. V.
Peddling and soliciting — See Ch. 195.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Art. I, Pole Licenses, adopted 2-19-1987 as Part 3, Title 1, Art. 313, of the 1987 Codified Ordinances, as amended, was repealed 6-19-1997 by Ord. No. 1443

§ 173-1 through § 173-4. (Reserved).

[Adopted 2-19-1987 as Part 3, Title 1, Art. 311, of the 1987 Codified Ordinances]

§ 173-5 Imposition of tax.

A. 
There is hereby levied upon every person, firm, partnership, corporation, association, trustee or receiver engaged in a trade, business, calling or occupation in the city a license tax as hereinafter set forth. All persons, firms, partnerships, corporations, associations, trustees or receivers engaged in an occupation which is regulated and licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are hereby excluded from the license tax levied hereunder.
[Amended 12-19-1996 by Ord. No. 1436]
B. 
If any person, firm, partnership, corporation, association, trustee or receiver conducts any business, trade or calling within the city at more than one location or from more than one vehicle, the business conducted from each location or from each vehicle shall be considered a separate and independent business and shall be subject to the license tax.
C. 
However, the word "business", as used in this Article, shall not be construed to mean or include any place of business at which the principal business conducted is that of selling, storing or distributing produce manufactured by the firm, person, corporation, partnership, association, trustee or receiver operating the business.
D. 
Any person, firm, partnership, corporation, association, trustee or receiver who is taxable under any specific classification herein shall not be required to pay a tax under any general classification herein.
E. 
The taxes assessed under this Article shall be in addition to all other taxes levied and collected by the city, the county or the state.

§ 173-6 Tax rates; classifications.

[Amended 2-20-1997 by Ord. No. 1430]
The rates and amounts of the license tax shall be as set forth in the City of Butler Fee Schedule, adopted from time to time by resolution of the City Council, [1] and collected upon the following basis:
A. 
Billiard parlors. The operator, whether he is the owner, lessee or bailee of a billiard parlor, shall pay an annual license tax of $5 for each billiard and pool table.
B. 
Bowling alleys. The operator, whether he is the owner, lessee or bailee of a bowling alley, shall pay an annual license tax per alley.
C. 
Circuses. Owners or operators of circuses shall pay according to classification on a daily basis.
D. 
Commission merchants. Commission merchants shall pay an annual license tax.
E. 
Public exhibitions for pay. Every person, firm, company or corporation conducting concerts, operas, shows or other public exhibitions, entertainments or amusements of any character for pay, not conflicting with the law, held in any storeroom, theater or other place or building, shall pay a license tax each day. Such tax shall not apply where such amusements are conducted for religious or charitable nonprofit purposes, or those held in a regularly licensed theater or moving picture house, nor shall it be effective where such entertainment or amusement returns at least 75% of the net proceeds to a religious or charitable purpose or to the schools of the city.
F. 
Contractors. All contractors are hereby classified on the basis of their annual contracts in the city and shall pay the annual license tax according to the same.
G. 
[2]Gaming tables and amusement devices.
[Amended 12-16-2010 by Ord. No. 1634; 5-26-2011 by Ord. No. 1641]
(1) 
No operator of a gaming table or amusement device, as hereinafter defined, shall have, maintain or operate within the City of Butler any gaming table or amusement device without first having obtained from the Health Inspector a license to do so and having paid the license fee as herein established to cover the cost of this article. The terms "gaming table" or "amusement device" shall include billiard or pool tables, pinball machines, shuffleboard or bowling machines, novelty machines, video games, jukeboxes, poker machines and all similar devices. "Operator" means and includes any person in actual or constructive possession and control of the business or such gaming table or amusement device operating the same for profit.
(2) 
Each operator shall make application to the Health Inspector for a license. The Health Inspector shall forthwith report such application to the Fire Marshall. The Fire Marshall shall investigate the applicant and the location where such gaming table or amusement device or other amusement is to be maintained, and shall determine whether the location used for the purpose requested will create a fire or health hazard or nuisance.
(3) 
Upon the recommendation of the Fire Marshall, the Health Inspector shall forthwith issue a license, provided the operator first pays to the City Treasurer a license fee in accordance with the following schedule:
Amusement Device
Fee
All pinball machines
$50
Coin-operated pool tables
$50
Shuffleboard or bowling machines
$50
Pocket billiards or billiards
$40
Novelty machines
$50
Video games
$50
Jukeboxes
$40
Devices not fitting above, including poker-type machines
$50
(4) 
All applications and fees must be submitted and paid before March 1 of each year for each gaming table and device or other amusement device which has been provided. Any vendor or owner who provides such device during the calendar year shall, at least 10 days before delivery of said device, make application for such license with the Health Inspector. The application shall require the operator to disclose and provide the lawful name and address of the operator, the expected date of delivery to the operator of such device and any other information required by the Health Inspector. Regardless of when a device is provided during the year, the license fee shall be as shown above.
(5) 
Information for any gaming table and device or other amusement device that has not been provided shall be a violation of this article and subject to fines.
(6) 
Upon the issuance of any gaming license herein required, the Health Inspector shall issue one license showing the number of machines and the date thereof. The license shall, at all times, be displayed. Failure to display the license shall be a violation of this article. Upon application, a new license shall be issued to the operator each year. So long as the number of gaming tables and amusement devices in the business at any one time does not exceed the number of machines shown on the license, the operator need not report the delivery of a new gaming table or amusement device. However, if additional gaming tables and amusement devices are placed in the business which serve to increase the number of machines beyond the number of machines permitted on the license, all operators shall immediately report the delivery of any additional gaming table or other amusement device and pay the applicable fee.
[2]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection G, Utilities, was repealed 6-19-1997 by Ord. No. 1443.
H. 
[3]Junk dealers or traders.
(1) 
Every owner or lessee of wagons or trucks collecting paper, rags or small lots of junk, trading tinware or other merchandise or those who pay in cash for small lots of such rags, paper or junk, shall pay an annual license tax for each such wagon or truck.
(2) 
All other dealers or traders in junk iron, brass, metal, paper or rags shall pay an annual license tax.
[3]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection H, Express companies, was repealed 6-19-1997 by Ord. No. 1443.
I. 
Merchants. Merchants of all kinds engaged in the buying and selling of any goods whatsoever, except those otherwise regulated and classified in this Article or other ordinance of the city, doing business in the city, shall be classified for the purpose of the license tax as to the wholesale or retail nature of their business. Those who sell only to dealers in or vendors of goods, wares, chattels and merchandise shall be deemed under the provisions of this Article to be wholesalers and shall pay the license tax for wholesalers of their respective class, all others shall be deemed to be retailers and shall pay the license tax for retailers of their respective class.
(1) 
Wholesalers. Those persons classified as wholesalers shall be further classified as to the gross volume of business transacted annually, represented by receipts in cash, or the equivalent thereof, whether for goods sold or for services rendered during the year or on account of credit previously extended and exclusive of business represented only by credit upon the books and shall pay the annual license tax according to the same.
(2) 
Retailers. Those persons classified as retailers shall be further classified on the gross volume of business transacted annually, represented by receipts in cash, or the equivalent thereof, whether for goods sold or services rendered during the year or on account of credit previously extended and exclusive of business represented only by credit upon the books and shall pay the annual license tax according to the same. However, in computing the gross volume of business transacted, those persons classified as retailers who are taxable for any machine, device or instrumentality upon which a tax is imposed by this Article shall exclude from such gross income all receipts or profits derived from such machine, device or instrument and pay a separate tax on the business conducted and a separate tax on the machines, devices or instrumentalities so taxed.
J. 
Peddlers, hawkers or vendors of produce, goods, wares, books, magazines or other merchandise, except clothing, who peddle, sell, offer for sale or solicit for the purpose of sale in, upon or along any street, alley or public place or by going from house to house or store to store within the city shall pay a license tax as hereinafter set forth. Nothing in this subsection shall, however, require persons to pay or be construed to place the license tax upon persons taking orders for merchandise, produce or wares by sample from dealers or merchants for individuals or companies who pay a license tax at their chief places of business, and provided that nothing in this subsection shall authorize any person to sell by retail to others than dealers or merchants without a license.
[Amended 6-19-1997 by Ord. No. 1443]
(1) 
Each peddler of all merchandise, excluding clothing, shall pay a license tax.
(2) 
Each peddler of clothing shall pay a license tax.
K. 
Penny arcades and similar exhibitions. The operator of every machine, table, instrument or device, whether operated manually, mechanically, electrically, electronically or otherwise by the insertion of a coin, slug, token or other object, shall pay an annual license fee. "Operator" means and includes any person, firm, partnership, corporation or association in actual or constructive possession and control of the place of business, room or hall wherein such machine, instrument or device is kept or maintained, operating the same for profit.
L. 
[4]Restaurants. Every operator, whether he is the owner or lessee of a restaurant, shall pay an annual license tax on the schedule provided for retail dealers in Subsection K(2) hereof. Every hotel in which a restaurant is located shall pay such annual license tax where such restaurant is open to the general public and not restricted to the guests of the hotel.
[4]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection L, Gas companies, was repealed 6-19-1997 by Ord. No. 1443.
M. 
Carnivals and similar exhibitions. Carnivals and similar exhibitions shall pay a license tax per day for each concession or entertainment device.
N. 
Skating rinks. The operator, whether he is the owner or lessee of a skating rink, shall pay an annual license tax.
O. 
Storage houses and warehouses. Storage houses, warehouses or places operated for the purpose of storing goods, wares or things, of and for the general public for profit, shall pay an annual license tax.
P. 
Theaters or moving picture houses. Theaters or moving picture houses shall pay an annual license tax.
Q. 
Undertakers or mortuary companies. Undertakers or mortuary companies or individuals shall pay an annual license tax.[5]
[5]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection U, which previously followed this subsection, was repealed 6-19-1997 by Ord. No. 1443. This ordinance also provided for the renumbering of former Subsections I, J, K and M through T as Subsections G through Q, respectively.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. A264, Fees.

§ 173-7 Exemptions; free licenses.

A. 
The following persons shall not be required to pay a license tax or to obtain any license under this Article:
(1) 
Farmers who sell or offer for sale only their own produce.
(2) 
Manufacturers or producers who sell or offer for sale bread and bakery products, meat and meat products or milk and milk products.
B. 
The following persons shall not be required to pay a license tax to hawk, peddle and vend goods, wares and merchandise on the streets and to solicit trade from door to door, but shall obtain, before starting in business, a license which will be issued free of charge by the license tax officer:
(1) 
Honorably discharged members of the United States Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine or any women's auxiliary or nurse corps related thereto now or hereafter set up by the United States government, who are residents of this state and who are unable to procure a livelihood by other profitable endeavor. Such persons shall submit and show to the license tax officer the certificate of the prothonotary of any county of this state as provided by the Act of April 8, 1867 (P.L. 50), as amended.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: This Act was repealed 11-24-1992 by P.L. 717, No. 108.§ 3.
(2) 
Blind, physically incapacitated or disabled persons who submit to the license tax officer a resolution of Council authorizing the issuance of a free license to them by name.
(3) 
Persons selling goods, wares and merchandise donated by the owners thereof, the proceeds of which are to be applied to any charitable or philanthropic purpose.
C. 
The exemptions contained in the foregoing clauses of this section apply only to license taxes levied and licenses required by this Article and shall not be interpreted to affect in any way inspection fees imposed or permits required by other ordinances.

§ 173-8 Notice of classification; appeal to Board.

A. 
It shall be the duty of the license tax officer to make out annually, before April 1 each year, a list of all persons engaged in any business liable to a license fee under the provisions of this Article, with their location and the business in which they are engaged. Such list shall be delivered to the Director of Accounts and Finance, who shall cause notice to be issued to persons so assessed, showing under what classification they appear in the assessment and providing for a return sworn statement from those who are assessed under a schedule license to return their gross annual income from such business under which they are classified, unless they accept such classification, allowing 10 days for the return of such statement. After the lapse of 10 days, the Director, with the license tax officer, shall fix the amount of the license tax to be paid as shown by such return and the provisions of this Article. If after the lapse of 10 days no return is received, the Director, with the license tax officer, may fix the rate of license, based upon the knowledge of business and compared to other merchants in like businesses.
B. 
After the list of licenses shall have been fixed by the Director and license tax officer, the Director shall cause a notice to be sent to every person taxable under this Article of the amount of the license fixed, stating a time and place where any person so assessed may be heard by the Board of Appeals, which Board shall be made up from the members of Council, and shall constitute a Board of five members. Such Board of Appeals shall convene at a time and place so fixed and hear all complaints that may be presented and take action thereon. After such action, corrections may be made and noted on the assessment returned, after which the list so corrected shall be certified to the City Treasurer for collection, a duplicate deposited with the Controller and a triplicate deposited with the Director of Accounts and Finance.
C. 
Any person notified in accordance herewith and not making a return or not appearing at the time and place of appeal shall be deemed to have accepted the license returned by the license tax officer.
D. 
Any person not returned on the regular list as before mentioned may be added to the list by the license tax officer in the same manner as the original list. Such person may file with the Director of Accounts and Finance a request for appeal either to that official or the Board of Appeals if not satisfied with the classification.

§ 173-9 Basis for tax computation; false representation.

A. 
Wherever in this Article the license tax is based upon the gross annual volume of business or the total amount of annual contracts, the gross volume of business or total of annual contracts during the preceding calendar year shall be the basis upon which the tax shall be assessed, if the person to be taxed was in business during such calendar year. Otherwise, the gross annual volume of business or the total annual contracts shall be estimated from the amount of merchandise carried, the location of the place of business and other relevant circumstances.
B. 
If any person shall willfully make any false statement or false returns or representations of any kind to the license tax officer, Board of Appeals or Director of Accounts and Finance for the purpose of having the applicant or license placed in a lower class than that to which he belongs or for the purpose of having the applicant or license rated lower or rated differently from that which should have been made, the person offending shall be fined as provided in § 173-13.

§ 173-10 Payment; interest on unpaid taxes.

A. 
All annual license taxes shall date from January 1 each year and shall be due and payable on July 1 each year, with the requirement that all persons engaging in any business for which a license is imposed under the provisions of this Article after January 1 in any one year, shall pay the pro rata part of the license tax from the commencement of the business for the balance of the year. However, no license tax shall be issued for less than one-fourth (1/4) of the annual license tax assessable annually on the trade, business, calling or occupation for which a license is sought, except that where a daily, weekly or monthly schedule is provided, such schedule shall be used.
B. 
All license taxes not paid on or before July 1 in each year shall be certified to the City Solicitor for collection, and upon such certification a penalty of 5% shall be added.

§ 173-11 License restriction.

No license issued by virtue of this Article shall be held to authorize any lewd or indecent performance or the doing of any unlawful business in violation of any ordinance of the city.

§ 173-12 Enforcement.

It shall be the duty of the police officers of the city to arrest, on view, any of the persons mentioned in this Article who they may see violating any of the provisions of this Article and so inform the Mayor or any Alderman of such violation.

§ 173-13 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 2-20-1997 by Ord. No. 1430]
All license taxes levied by virtue of this Article may, in default of payment as herein provided, be collected as debts of like amount are by law collectible, or by distraint. Any person, firm, company, corporation or association doing business in the city, or operator of any vehicle, machine, instrument, table or device or other thing for or upon which a license tax is imposed or provided and payable by virtue of this Article, who operates the same without having paid such tax as herein provided, shall be fined not more than $300 and, in default of payment, shall be imprisoned not more than 30 days.