Sidewalk cafés boost city revenue but it could be even better
The office of Philadelphia’s City Controller announced that with many businesses welcoming the seasonal boost from outdoor seating, the city has also benefited by generating $227,599 over the last five years from sidewalk café licenses, according to the latest monthly economic report.
Since 2011, the city has averaged $45,500 annually from establishments that filed for a sidewalk café license. Revenues are generated by those who paid the annual $160 fee and obtained the license prior to establishing an outdoor seating area, as required by the Philadelphia Code.
According to the City Controller's report, while the current fiscal year 2015 total of $26,946 is much lower than prior year collections, it is expected to increase as a large portion of the license fees will be collected in June.
When comparing the 2014 total revenue collected under the $160 fee, it is assumed that 262 sidewalk licenses were issued.
However, it is estimated that there are almost 370 outdoor seating establishments in Center City alone, resulting in a potential loss of $17,000 from entities who did not pay for a license.
The loss of revenue could be significantly more because estimates do not account for outdoor seating establishments in neighborhoods such as Manayunk, University City, Passyunk Square and Northern Liberties.
To view the April 2015 Economic Report, please visit the City Controller's Web site.