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City of Redwood Falls posts ordinance change about taxicab service

The Redwood Falls City Council introduced the proposed ordinance at the meeting held on August 17, 2021. City Council will consider adopting the proposed ordinance at the next meeting being held on September 7, 2021.
ORDINANCE NO. 72, FOURTH SERIES
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING REDWOOD FALLS CODE OF ORDINANCES
§ 6.25 RELATING TO TAXICABS.
WHEREAS, City staff have reviewed the taxicab licensing ordinance § 6.25 and have identified and made several changes to the licensing requirements and process; and
WHEREAS, to make the taxicab vehicle licensing process more efficient and enhance overall service delivery several changes are recommended to the existing taxicab licensing ordinance.
NOW THEREFORE THE CITY COUNCIL OF REDWOOD FALLS ORDAINS:
SECTION 1. That Redwood Falls City Code of Ordinances §6.25 shall be amended as follows:
§ 6.25 TAXICABS
Subd. 1.  Definitions. The following terms, as used in this section, shall have the meanings stated.
     A.  The term “driver” means the person driving and having physical control over a taxicab whether he or she be the licensee or in the employ of the licensed operator.
     B.  The term “operator” means a licensee owning or otherwise having control of one or more taxicabs.
     C.  The term “taxicab” means any passenger conveyance being driven, on call or traversing a scheduled or unscheduled route for public use or hire upon payment of a fare or at regular fare rates, but not including such as are designed for mass transportation as buses, trains or streetcars.
Subd. 2.  License Required. It is unlawful for any person to drive or operate a taxicab without a license therefor from the city. It is unlawful for any person to operate or permit to be operated any taxicab owned, leased, or controlled by such person, as a vehicle for hire, within the City, without first having obtained a taxicab license from the City for such taxicab.
Subd. 3.  License Fees. The Aannual license and renewal fees for a taxicab shall be set by resolution of the Council and prescribed in the City fee schedule, as it may be amended from time to time. Provided, however, that, if a licensed vehicle is disabled through mechanical failure or for needed repairs, the license may be temporarily transferred to another conveyance for a seven-day period upon approval by the city.
Subd. 4.  Granting of Licenses and Renewals. Licenses, General Provisions.
     A. Application.    Upon the filing of an application for a license, the Council shall order a hearing thereon to determine whether the public convenience and necessity require the proposed taxicab service. Notice of the hearing shall be published once in the official newspaper at least seven days prior to the time fixed for the hearing. The cost of the publication shall be borne by the applicant and the notice shall state the name of the applicant, the type of license applied for, a schedule of rates to be charged, the number of vehicles to be operated under the license and the time and place of hearing. Every application for a license issued under this ordinance shall be on a form provided by the City. Every Application shall be filled out completely with all information requested. All applications for a license under this section shall be accompanied by the fee established in the City fee schedule, as it may be amended from time to time.
     B.  Issuance.    If, after the hearing, the Council is satisfied and, by resolution, finds and determines that the public convenience and necessity require the issuance of a license period, it shall grant the license period. Provided, however, that, the hearing shall not be required for renewal of any license, but the applicant for a renewal license shall file an application at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the license, and failure by the applicant to file the application within the time limited shall be deemed an abandonment by the licensee of the right to renewal without a hearing. This time requirement may be waived by the Council for good and sufficient cause as determined by the Council. Once the application is completed in full and filed with the City Administrator, the City Administrator shall stamp and date a copy of the application as officially being received. After the application has been officially received by the City Administrator, the City shall conduct an investigation of the applicant as follows:
        1.  Upon receipt of the application, the application shall be referred to the City Attorney who shall cause an investigation of the applicant and its employees’ criminal and business character to be made as he or she deems necessary for the protection of the public.
        2.  If, as a result of the investigation of the applicant or his or her employees’ criminal record, character, or business respectability is found to be unsatisfactory, the City Attorney shall endorse on the application his or her reasons for the disapproval of the application and return the application to the City Administrator who shall send a copy to applicant.
        3.  If, as a result of the investigation of the applicant or his or her employees’ criminal record, character, or business respectability is found to be satisfactory, the City Attorney shall endorse on the application his or her approval and return the application to the City Administrator.
        4.  After the investigation is complete, the City Administrator shall then cause the application to be approved or disapproved.
      C.  Ineligibility. The following shall be grounds for denying a taxicab license:
1. The failure of a taxicab applicant to obtain and demonstrate proof of having obtained insurance and mechanic’s certification as required under Subd. 8 and Subd. 11 of this section.
2. The failure of an applicant to truthfully provide any information requested by the city as part of the application process.
3. The failure of an applicant to sign the application.
4. The failure of an applicant to pay the required fee, if applicable, at the time of application.
5. A conviction within the past five years of a crime of violence under Minn. Stat. §624.712, Subd. 5 or a conviction of a crime in another state under a statute in conformity with Minn. Stat. §624.712, Subd. 5.
6. A withdrawal of the applicant’s driver’s license or driving privileges by the Commissioner of Public Safety, within the last five (5) years.
      D. Expiration. All licenses issued by the City, unless sooner revoked or suspended by the City, shall expire on December 31st of each year.
      E. Renewal. Each applicant for a renewal license shall file an application at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the current license. Failure by the applicant to file the application within the time limit shall be deemed an abandonment by the licensee of the right to renewal.
Subd. 5.  License Issuance and Display, and Vehicle Marking. All licenses shall be issued for specific conveyances, except as otherwise herein provided. Both sides of every licensed taxicab, when in use, shall be plainly and permanently marked as such with a painted sign or appurtenances showing the full or abbreviated name of the licensed operator.
Subd. 6.  License Transfer.
A. Upon any transfer of ownership of any taxicab, where the transferor indicates that the vehicle is no longer to be operated as a taxicab, the City may transfer such license for use on another taxicab as designated by transferor.
B. A license may also be transferred when the licensee produces satisfactory evidence that such taxicab has been totally destroyed or otherwise, ceased to be used as a taxicab.
C. Upon any transfer of ownership of a taxicab license where the transferor indicates that such vehicle is to continue in use as a taxicab, the City may transfer the license to the new owner upon receiving and approving the application for licensure by the new owner.
D. Upon the death of any person owning a hereunder taxicab license, the City may, at the request of the deceased’s personal representative and upon receipt of satisfactory evidence of such death, transfer such license upon receiving and approving the application for licensure by the new owner.
No transfer will be made unless and until the transferee complies with the terms and provisions of this ordinance.
Subd. 7.  Revocation and Suspension.
    A.  Generally. Licenses issued under the provisions of this section may be revoked or suspended by the City Administrator for any of the following causes:
        1.  Fraud, misrepresentation or incorrect statement contained in the application.
        2.  Subsequent conviction of any offense to which the granting of the license could have been denied pursuant to Subd. 4.C.
        4.  Engaging in any prohibited activity as provided under Subd. 12 of this section.
        5.  Violation of any other provision of this section.
     B.  Multiple persons under one license. The revocation or suspension of any license issued for the purpose of authorizing one or more people to conduct business as a taxicab operator shall serve as a revocation or suspension of each authorized person’s authority to conduct business as a taxicab operator or driver on behalf of the licensee whose license is revoked or suspended.
     C.  Notice. Prior to revoking or suspending any license issued under this section, the City shall provide a license holder with written notice of the alleged violations and inform the licensee of his or her right to a hearing on the alleged violation. Notice shall be delivered in person or by mail to the permanent residential address listed on the application, or if no residential address is listed, to the business address provided on the application.
     D.  Appeal. Any person aggrieved by the action of the City Administrator in the revocation or suspension of a license as provided in this section, may appeal to the City Council. Upon receiving the notice provided in Subd. 7.C. of this section, the licensee shall have the right to request a public hearing. If no written request for a hearing is received by the City Administrator within ten days following the service of the notice, the City may proceed with the revocation or suspension. For the purpose of a mailed notice, service shall be considered complete as of the date the notice is placed in the mail. If a public hearing is requested by the licensee within the stated time frame, Council shall set a time and place for a hearing on the appeal and notice of the hearing shall be given to the licensee five days prior to the date of the hearing. The request for a public hearing must be in writing and must contain the grounds for the appeal. Within three regular business days of the hearing, the City Council shall notify the licensee of its decision.
     E.  Emergency. If, in the discretion of the City Administrator, imminent harm to the health or safety of the public may occur because of the actions of a taxicab operator licensed under this section, the City Administrator may immediately suspend the person’s license and provide notice of the right to hold a subsequent public hearing as prescribed in Subd. 7.C. of this section.
     F.  Re-application. No licensee whose license has been revoked or suspended shall make further application until one year has elapsed since the last previous revocation or suspension.
  Subd. 6. Subd. 8. Insurance Required. Before a taxicab license is issued, by the Council each applicant and licensee shall obtain and file with the City evidence of, and, at all times, effective during the licensed period, the licensee shall have and maintain public liability and bodily injury insurance having coverages of at least $100,000 per individual, $300,000 per occurrence and $100,000 for property damage. The insurance shall cover all passengers carried by the insured licensee as well as other persons injured or damaged by the negligent operation of the taxicab. The policy shall contain a clause providing for ten days written notice to the City Administrator prior to cancellation. A memorandum or certificate of the insurance shall be furnished to the City before the license is issued.
Subd. 9.  Drivers. Every licensed taxicab operator must, on a yearly basis, verify by filing proof with City Hall, that each taxicab driver in their employment meets the following standards:
A.   Is eighteen (18) years of age or older;
B.    Possesses a valid driver’s license;
C.    Has obtained and provided a doctor’s certificate, effective for three (3) years, indicating the driver is free from any infirmity, physical or mental, which would render the driver unfit for the safe operation of the licensed vehicle;
D.   Has not been convicted of a crime of violence under Minn. Stat. §624.712, Subd. 5 or has not been convicted of a crime in another state under a statute in conformity with Minn. Stat. §624.712, subd. 5;
E.    Has not had his/her license or privilege to drive withdrawn by the Commissioner of Public Safety within the past five years; and
F.     Has not been convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance under Minn. Stat. 169A.20, or an ordinance that conforms to that section within the past five years.
Subd. 7. Subd. 10. Rates. Each applicant shall file with the City Administrator, before a taxicab license is issued or renewed, a schedule of proposed maximum rates to be charged by him or her during the licensed period for which the application is made. The schedule of proposed maximum rates, or a compromise schedule thereof, shall be approved by the Council City before granting the license. The schedule shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the taxicab in full view of passengers riding therein. Nothing herein shall prevent a taxicab licensee from petitioning the Council for review of the rates during the licensed period, and the Council may, likewise, consider the petition and make new rates effective at any time. A taxicab operator must submit any changes to its schedule of rates to the City Administrator at least fourteen (14) days prior to their implementation. No taxicab licensee shall charge rates in excess of maximum rates filed with and approved by the Council City.
Subd. 8.   Subd. 11. Mechanical Condition. Before issuing a taxicab license, the Council may require each applicant shall obtain and file with the City a mechanic’s certification from an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified mechanic showing that the taxicab conveyance is in good mechanical condition, that it is thoroughly safe for transportation of passengers and that it is in neat and clean condition. Such similar certificate may be required from time to time during the licensed period. An updated mechanic’s certification must be completed on a yearly basis and submitted to the City with each taxicab license renewal.
Subd. 9. Subd. 12. Unlawful Acts. It is unlawful for the operator or driver of any taxicab to:
     A.  Carry any other than the passenger first employing a taxicab without the consent of the passenger; or
     B.  Charge or attempt to charge any passenger a greater rate of fare than that to which the taxicab is entitled under resolution of the Council has been filed with the City Administrator at the time of service; and or
     C.  Deceive any passenger who may ride with him or her or who may desire to ride in any such vehicle as to his or her destination or distance traveled or to be traveled.
Subd. 13. Penalties.
     A. Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
     B. In addition to all penalties and remedies provided by law, any violation of this chapter is hereby declared to be a nuisance. The repeated or continued violation of this chapter is hereby declared to constitute a public nuisance that affects public rights or privileges or endangers public health. In addition to any other relief provided by this chapter, the city attorney may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for an injunction to prohibit the repeated or continued violation of this chapter. Such application for relief may include seeking a temporary restraining order, temporary injunction, preliminary injunction, or permanent injunction.
           SECTION 2. Effective Date. This Ordinance becomes effective from and after its passage.

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