ShareThis Page
Irwin revives proposed amusement tax | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Irwin revives proposed amusement tax

Joe Napsha
| Monday, February 4, 2019 1:30 a.m
689606_web1_Lamp-diner
Joe Napsha | Tribune-Review
The Lamp Theatre in Irwin had about $572,000 in ticket sales in 2018.

Irwin officials are reviving a controversial proposal to create an amusement tax that would increase the price of event tickets sold in the borough by 5 percent — a levy that would hit hardest the revitalized Lamp Theatre.

Council is expected to discuss the ordinance during a workshop meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday . A voting meeting is scheduled Feb. 13.

The issue was postponed at the Jan. 9 meeting when council members tabled a vote to enact the tax as it was written in 2018. The fee would apply to ticket sales or entry fees into entertainment venues, unless the event were sponsored by a nonprofit organization, such as a church or school.

The issue of an amusement tax has been idle since October.

At the time, council President Rick Burdelski said the decision was postponed because officials from the Lamp wanted more time to operate under the existing ticket fees without having to deal with a tax. Burdelski said there could be a “fiery discussion” over aspects of the tax. Were it to pass, Burdelski said, he would want to see it implemented this year.

Council members last year also discussed levying a flat $1 fee on the tickets to make it easier for accounting purposes, since ticket prices vary for different performances.

Leslie Savage, who heads council’s finance committee, said she still is forming her opinion on the tax.

“I’m listening to all sides,” Savage said.

John Gdula, president of The Lamp Theatre Corp., the nonprofit that operates the facility, said he would await further information about the proposed tax before commenting.

The Lamp last year had approximately $572,000 in ticket sales, which would have generated an estimated $28,600 in revenue for the borough through a 5 percent tax. It is unclear how much a dollar-per-ticket fee would have generated.

The Antonelli Event Center is another venue in Irwin that would be affected by an amusement tax, but co-owner Greg Antonelli said most of the performances there are sponsored by nonprofit organizations that would be exempt from paying the extra fee. Antonelli said he may have only one or two performances a year that would be impacted by the tax.

Council members last year justified the tax because of the services the borough provides — police and fire protection — and the cost of maintenance to the Lamp building, which the borough owns. The tax on tickets could be passed on to patrons, as is done in Pittsburgh with sporting events, council members said.

If Irwin were to pass the amusement tax, it would be the only municipality in Westmoreland County with one that impacts theatres. There is no amusement tax for the Palace Theatre in Greensburg, the AMC Classic Westmoreland 15 movie theater in Hempfield, the Casino Theatre in Vandergrift, the Diamond Theatre of Ligonier or the Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale.


Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review
staff writer. You can contact
Joe at 724-836-5252
or jnapsha@tribweb.com.


Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, jnapsha@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

Categories: News | Westmoreland
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.