2. Public Utility Occupation Tax
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PUBLIC UTILITY OCCUPATION TAX
16-2-1: SHORT TITLE
16-2-2: LEGISLATIVE INTENT
16-2-4: LEVY OF TAX
16-2-5: PAYMENT AND ENFORCEMENT
16-2-6: TAX NOT IN LIEU OF OTHER FEES AND TAXES
16-2-7: LOCAL PURPOSE
16-2-1: SHORT TITLE: This Chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Westminster Public Utility Occupation Tax." (1879)
16-2-2: LEGISLATIVE INTENT: The City Council does hereby find, determine, and declare as follows:
(A) Certain public utility companies may occasionally do business within the City without applying for or receiving a franchise from the City for the use of the public streets and other public places.
(B) As consideration for the privilege of using the public streets and other public places for private business purposes, which are valuable public properties acquired and maintained by the City at great expense to its residents, and in recognition that such use is a valuable privilege without which public utilities would be required to invest substantial time and capital in right-of-way costs and acquisitions, and recognizing that each public utility must pay such part of the cost of improvement or maintenance of the public streets and other public places as shall arise from its use thereof, levying of an occupation tax is just and equitable.
(C) In the course of such a public utility's installation, operation, and maintenance of its facilities within the City, such public utility utilizes City resources to a greater degree than do other businesses or occupations.
(D) Delivery of such public utilities within the City requires standby and active service by Police, Fire, Public Works and other employees of the City and local safety agencies, which is a matter of local and municipal concern.
(E) Upon review of all matters properly considered relating to the nature of public utilities and the relation of such public utilities, their demands on City resources, and the use of public streets and other public places, as well as the other operations of such public utilities, to the municipal welfare of the residents of the City and to expenditures budgeted to the City, classification of such public utilities as separate businesses and occupations is reasonable, proper, uniform, and nondiscriminatory. The taxable amount hereby levied is reasonable, proper, uniform, nondiscriminatory, and necessary for a just and proper distribution of tax burdens within the City.
(F) The occupation tax herein created and defined is levied on the right of a public utility to do business within the City as are other occupation taxes so created and imposed within the City. (1879)
16-2-3: DEFINITIONS: Unless indicated below, definitions shall be as set forth in Chapter 1 of this Title. (1879)
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16-2-4: LEVY OF TAX:
(A) There is hereby levied upon public utilities that provide natural gas or electricity to residents of the City a tax or excise upon all sales of natural gas or electricity. (1879)
(B) The taxable rate levied shall be three percent (3%) of sales. (1879)
16-2-5: PAYMENT AND ENFORCEMENT:
(A) Payment of the taxable amount to the City shall be made in monthly installments not more than twenty (20) days following the close of the month for which payment is to be made.
(B) In the event an error by a public utility results in an overpayment of the taxable amount to the City, the public utility may apply for a refund within three (3) years of the date the taxable amount was due. If the refund is denied, the public utility may request a hearing before the Finance Director. Any request for a hearing shall be made within twenty-one (21) days of the date of the denial of the refund. In the event an error by the public utility results in an underpayment of the taxable amount to the City, the public utility shall repay the difference between the underpayment and the correct payment with interest from the date due at the rate assessed for delinquent sales taxes. No penalty shall be assessed if the public utility voluntarily corrects the underpayment without an audit or collection action of any type by the City.
(C) The City shall have reasonable access to the books and records of the public utility insofar as they relate to any matters covered by this ordinance and such reasonable and necessary reports containing or based on information readily obtainable from the public utility's books and records with respect to the activities taxed pursuant to this chapter.
(D) If any public utility subject to the provisions of this chapter fails to pay the tax herein levied, it may be collected in the same manner as provided in this Code for the collection of sales and use taxes. Interest, penalty and collection costs shall be added to the principal owed in the amounts permitted by the sales and use tax provisions.
(E) The Director of Finance shall administer the provisions of this Chapter. Pursuant to the directive of the City Manager, the Director of Finance may promulgate rules to aid in the enforcement and administration of this chapter. (1879)
16-2-6: TAX NOT IN LIEU OF OTHER FEES AND TAXES: Payment of this occupation tax shall not exempt a public utility from any lawful taxation, charges and fees that are uniform and generally applicable to other persons conducting business within the City. This tax shall not be levied against any public utility that pays a franchise fee of at least three percent (3%) of its revenues pursuant to a franchise granted by the City. (1879)
16-2-7: LOCAL PURPOSE: The tax herein provided is upon occupations and businesses in the performance of local functions and is not a tax upon those functions relating to interstate commerce. No terms of this chapter shall be construed to create any franchise rights in favor of any person or public utility. (1879)
16-2-8: SEVERABILITY: If any provision of this chapter or application thereof to any person or circumstance is adjudged invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity shall not affect the remaining provisions of this chapter that can be effective without the invalid provision, and to said end each provision and section of this chapter is declared to be severable. (1879)