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Green to require taxis to post rates, use meters

2/13/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

GREEN — Beginning in April, travelers hailing a cab at the Akron-Canton Airport will have a better idea how much their trip will cost them when they get in the vehicle.

Green City Council at its Feb. 11 meeting passed an ordinance requiring taxis and local transportation companies to conspicuously post their fare rates, use rate meters and file their rates with the city’s service director.

The ordinance, introduced in December, is the city’s response to complaints of exorbitant fees charged by taxis operating in the city. Law Director Steve Pruneski at a previous meeting explained the city has been working with Rick McQueen, president and CEO of the Akron-Canton Airport, to halt the current practice of “price gouging” among the local taxi and transportation companies parked outside the airport.

According to city officials, the ordinance should take effect in April. Individuals violating the ordinance may be found guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a jail term of not more than 30 days and be fined up to $2,000. Corporations, companies or partnerships violating the ordinance may be fined up to $2,000, according to the ordinance.

During committee meetings held prior to the Council meeting, Council again discussed the city’s 2014 capital improvement budget.

City Engineer Paul Pickett told Council $7.45 million has been budgeted for 2014, nearly a $10 million decrease from 2013. Pickett said the 2013 budget was much larger than normal, with the city tackling a large number of projects.

Projects for 2014 include $4.76 million in street construction and maintenance; $1 million for the Lauby and Greensburg roads improvement project, a federal grant project; nearly $1.1 million for parks; and $550,000 for tax increment financing (TIF) projects.

Notable among the 2014 projects are planning for Central Park and restroom renovations for Greensburg Park.

Pickett said 60 projects were submitted for possible funding and 16 were selected for 2014. Selection criteria include ranking based on scores by a city committee, availability of outside funding and how the project fits within the city’s five-year plan, Pickett said.

In other action, Council:

  • approved the placement of 16.61 acres of farm land in an agricultural district for a five-year term. Approval of the application by Anna Boyd will allow the property to be taxed at its current agricultural use value (CAUV) instead of full market value. According to city officials, to qualify for CAUV, the property must contain 10 acres used exclusively for agricultural purposes or generate $2,500 annually in the sale of agricultural products produced on the property;
  • approved an ordinance changing the zoning classification of about 61 acres of land at 1745 Koons Road from Planned Development to Single-Family Residential. The property previously was approved for a development that never was built, and the owner now wishes to use the property for single-family housing;
  • approved a new three-year labor agreement between the city and Local 2714 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — Dispatch Unit. The agreement was reached after receiving a fact-finder’s recommendations. The agreement contained new provisions for shift selection, vacation, holidays, hours worked, insurance benefits and wages;
  • approved an ordinance to amend allowed uses within the General Industrial District of the land development code. The ordinance will amend the code to permit car washes, gas stations and automotive sales in addition to the already permitted automotive repair and rentals; and
  • passed a resolution to approve the solid waste management plan for Summit ReWorks. Approval will allow the city to receive an $18,000 grant from ReWorks. The grant is used to operate the city’s recycling facility and promote recycling. The resolution passed 5-1, with Councilman James Ahlstrom II (Ward 1) dissenting.
    Ahlstrom said he did not feel comfortable voting in favor of the resolution since he had not had time to read the entire plan.

Council will meet Feb. 25 for its next regular meeting, starting with committee meetings at 5 p.m. and the Council meeting at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Central Administration Building, 1755 Town Park Blvd.

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