Glendale City Council sinks pool table fee

The Glendale City Council wants to scrap an annual $125-per-table fee for billiards establishments, with officials acknowledging that the charge was originally put in place to deter pool parlors from opening in the city.

The change was proposed during a budget meeting on Tuesday and will become official when the Council casts its final vote next month on a package of hundreds of fees applied in the city.

Glendale license investigator Maria Maldonado said the per-table fee is currently assessed each July, and that the city collected fees from approximately 60 tables as of July 2012.

That means the city would be forgoing roughly $7,500 in revenue by doing away with table fees.

However, businesses still have a pay a one-time $200 fee to obtain a pool-table license, which is already in the city's fee structure.

City Manager Scott Ochoa said during the budget meeting that the per-table fee was intended primarily to discourage pool halls from expanding in the city, not as a revenue generator.

"It doesn't generate a significant sum of funds for the city … it isn't something that we cling to for solvency's sake," he said.

Councilwoman Laura Friedman, an admitted billiards fan, first raised the issue at a May 14 budget meeting. She said that if the fee was meant originally to discourage businesses from putting in pool tables, that purpose is outdated.

"Let's stop picking on pool tables" Friedman said. "I'm sure it was [a problem], but it's not now."

While city officials weren't immediately sure how long the annual per-table fee has been on the books, it's been more than 10 years, according to Hassan Haghani, the city's community development director.

Councilman Frank Quintero said that although the per-table fee was "archaic," he's not anticipating a flood of new pool halls in Glendale once it's revoked.

"I don't think there's going to be a proliferation of them," he said.

The owners of Billiard's Corner and Charles Billiard Sports Bar and Restaurant declined to comment for this story.


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