Proposed Cape Girardeau ordinance would update taxi cab rules

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A proposed ordinance to update taxi cab requirements received a unanimous nod Monday from the Cape Girardeau City Council. Introduced in August 2007, the measure underwent retooling by a committee of city officials, transportation operators, representatives of the SEMO Alliance for Disability Independence and police chief Carl Kinnison.

The new rules require a $15 license for the first cab, liability insurance and clear identification of each vehicle operating as a cab, along with driver identification and hours of operation. Cab drivers must pass a criminal-background check.

City attorney Eric Cunningham said the ordinance shifts the burden of screening drivers away from the city to the companies that hire them.

Councilman Mark Lanzotti said the intent of the ordinance "is really to modernize and bring up our standards regarding who can operate a taxi."

No one appeared to oppose the measure.

After a closed session for the purpose of property acquisition and litigation, the council unanimously approved:

* Converting the intersection of Bloomfield and Silver Springs roads from stop signs to traffic lights.

* Dissolving the Vision 2020 Community Relations Council.

* The first reading to annex six acres of land for Walden Park developer RiverWest Partners and rezoning it from R-1 and R-4 residential to the city's first Planned Development District. Mayor Jay Knudtson abstained from both votes as his bank has a relationship with RiverWest.

* An easement to Southwestern Bell Telephone LP, d/b/a AT&T Missouri, at Perryville Road and Clark Street for equipment.

* A special-use permit to Velosity Electronics to build, maintain and operate a telecommunications tower within an equipment building and security fence at North County Park, which the city could also use for 911 purposes.

* A contract with Jim Goggin Excavating Inc. for the Lisa Drive Detention Basin Project, for $58,194.

Boy Scout Troop 16 attended the meeting. Leading the Pledge of Allegiance were Ben Tlapek, Alex Johnson, Ethan Protzel, Jacob Cieslewicz and Stephen Hoffmeister.

Councilman Charlie Herbst congratulated the Cape Central Marching Tigers band for winning every competition it entered this year.

Councilwoman Debra Tracy challenged the council to join her in giving up portions of their council pay to sponsor the renovation of one window for the Discovery Playhouse -- each window costs $350 -- and they agreed.

She also said she planned to join the 1,000 Person March scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday and asked others to try to be there. Knudtson said he would try to rearrange his schedule to attend.

Knudtson made a point of extending some appreciation to city employees, some of whom are angry about city manager Doug Leslie's recent 4 percent pay increase.

"Call it what you want, we appreciate all of our employees who work for the city of Cape Girardeau ... The fact is, we're in challenging times and sometimes an 'attaboy' is all you can give, but I'm sure all members of the council are proud to serve with those who cut the grass, put out the fires, pick up the trash and all the other duties they do. I think that gets lost at times. Without people, we can't be anything good."

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

388-3646

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