APPEALED From No. 35 Equity 1987. Common Pleas Court of Erie County
W. Patrick Delaney and James R. Fryling, for appellant.
Donald E. Wright, Jr., for appellee.
Craig, and Smith, JJ., and Narick, Senior Judge.
Helmerich Drive-It-Yourself, Inc. (Appellant) has appealed from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County granting a motion for summary judgment in favor of the Erie Municipal Airport Authority (EMAA). We affirm.
This matter has its genesis in an equity suit whereby Appellant challenged EMAA's authority to issue citations to Appellant for failure to pay a $100.00 yearly permit fee as required by the then-existing rules and regulations of EMAA. Subsequently, EMAA filed a motion for summary judgment contending that based upon an amendment to its regulations the annual permit fee assessed against an off-premises car rental business was 10% of all gross revenues derived from the rental of automobiles to passengers picked up at the airport and that EMAA could, pursuant to the Municipal Authorities Act of 1945 (Municipal Authorities Act),*fn1 require Appellant to pay this permit fee. EMAA further alleged in its motion for summary judgment that the purpose of the permit fee was to defray airport operation expenses and to provide for the public health, safety and welfare. The trial court granted summary judgment and this appeal followed.
There are several arguments presented on appeal for our consideration. The first argument is that EMAA did not have the power under the Municipal Authorities Act to assess the 10% gross revenue permit fee because (a) EMAA did not provide a service to Appellant; and (b) EMAA was indirectly competing with Appellant's business. Appellant's final argument is that the total fee assessed is unreasonable.*fn2
We will address the arguments raised by Appellant seriatim, keeping in mind that in reviewing a grant of summary judgment, our scope of review is confined to determining whether the trial court committed an error of law or an abuse of discretion. Kuehner v. Parsons, 107 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 61, 527 A.2d 627 (1987) petition for allowance of appeal denied, 517 Pa. 626, 538 A.2d 879 (1988). Summary judgment will only be granted when, after examining the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party clearly establishes that it is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Id.
As to the first issue raised, this Court concludes that the Municipal Authorities Act confers upon EMAA the power to assess a 10% of gross revenues permit fee against Appellant. The Municipal Authorities Act provides for the creation of municipal authorities for the purpose of "acquiring, holding, constructing, improving, maintaining and operating, owning, leasing, either in the capacity of lessor or lessee, projects of the following kind and character: . . . transportation, marketing . . . airports . . .". 53 P.S. § 306.A(a)(3).
Section 306.B(h) of the Municipal Authorities Act ...