Taxi cab drivers could be putting more into their pockets by taking a little more — 50 cents to $1.25 — from their customers.
The city council’s Public Services Committee recommended Wednesday placing the proposed increases on the city council’s agenda for Tuesday. The council meets at 6 p.m. at the Robert E. Jones Municipal Building, 17 W. Main St.
The rates would increase from: Zone 1: $4 to $5; Zone 2: $5.25 to $6; Zone 3: $6.25 to $7; Zone 4: $7.50 to $8; Zone 5: $8.50 to $9; and Zones 6 and 7: $10.75 to $12.
In a letter to city officials, Mr. Taxi owner Veronica Hathaway requested the changes.
“The rates have not been increased since 2005 and we all would appreciate some relief from the rising gas prices,” she states in the letter.
Hathaway said the increases are “fair and more convenient for both the driver and passengers not having coins to deal with as well.”
The city regulates cab rates to keep them at an acceptable level. Zone 1 is in the downtown area, with Zones 6 and 7, in the Wal-Mart and Lynch Road areas.
The city’s second taxi cab company, Cab Chix, also supports the changes.
“(Drivers now are) not really bringing home anything after a shift,” said Mr. Taxi manager Edna Anders.
Ward 5 Alderman Jerry Askren said he thinks the requested increases are still small with today’s gas rates.
There are other fees in the ordinance, such as for extra passengers and to use the cab’s trunk for luggage, but Anders said Mr. Taxi doesn’t charge those extra fees.
In other business Wednesday, the committee:
--Heard from resident Nora Ross about another shooting two weeks ago at the Elks Club on Main Street.
She said she and her neighbors were awakened with people screaming and running out of the building.
She said when the city closed Digital City, problems with large groups of people started at the Elks Club.
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said as the city’s liquor commissioner, and with the Elks being a liquor-licensed establishment, he investigates all incidents and police reports and will determine if a hearing and discipline is warranted.
--Heard from Mary Cox, chief of the auxiliary police unit, about allowing auxiliary police officers to again live outside the city. The residency requirement was changed years ago to require auxiliary officers to live in Danville, but she’s having trouble finding people.
--Recommended authorizing an additional $60,000 loan for health insurance from the city’s general fund.
--Discussed the city’s vacant structure ordinance and rental registration program.
Resident Sharon Ringler said the city shouldn’t penalize new building owners when prior building owners should have received ordinance citations for the buildings.
She also wants to see the city allow longer rehabilitation plans. No one wants to go into a project if they “may” get an extension, she added.
“One year is unreasonable,” Ringler said.
Real estate broker Nate Byram said “a lot of the landlords feel picked on.” He thinks the city’s focus should be on improving properties, not just looking at rentals over owner-occupied properties.
The goal of reducing city-funded demolitions of dilapidated structures also hasn’t been achieved, Byram added.
Eisenhauer said of ordinance violations for structures, 64 percent have been for owner-occupied properties and 36 percent are for rentals. Repairs to rentals are completed more quickly because landlords treat the properties as their business, Eisenhauer said.
“We’re getting fantastic cooperation from landlords,” he added.
Public development director John Heckler said the city also is willing to work with vacant structure owners.
Eisenhauer said some things have worked and some things haven’t with that ordinance.
Eisenhauer has asked the Danville Area Landlords Association to propose language changes to the vacant structure ordinance.