Hightstown Taxi Licensing Vote Tonight
The ordinance will limit the number of taxi companies that can operate in the Borough.
A vote to update Hightstown's taxi-licensing ordinance aligning it with state guidelines will be held tonight.
Licensing five taxi companies and an unlimited number of cabs was recommended by Police Director James Le Tellier to help with enforcement. Taxicab company owners are also working with police to ensure drivers are complying with local laws, he said.
The ordinance would require taxi drivers to have photo identification issued by the Borough. Cabs would also be required to have decals indicating they are licensed in town.
A tie-breaking vote by Mayor Steven Kirson introduced the proposed ordinance in July after disagreement between council members over the number of cabs and minimum insurance requirement for companies.
Borough Attorney Frederick C. Raffetto, of Ansell Grimm & Aaron, said the current ordinance is not in compliance with the state statute that was passed Sept. 30 last year. Municipalities were required to come in compliance within 60 days, or Nov. 30, 2011.
Council member Susan Bluth said the state’s $35,000 minimum insurance requirement was not enough, but Le Tellier said the town couldn’t set a higher minimum than the state.
Raffetto said he disagreed with Le Tellier, but was asking the state’s Department of Banking and Insurance for guidance. They will not have a formal written opinion for several weeks.
Council member Robert Thibault expressed concern about unlimited cab licenses, stating he wouldn't vote in favor of the ordinance without a limit, but Le Tellier defended his recommendation. He said all the licensed cabs will not be in town at the same time and it will help enforce gypsy, or non-licensed taxis, in the Borough.
The public hearing and final reading will be at tonight’s council meeting, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the First Aid building.