MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - There is proposed regulation for the taxi cab services in Myrtle Beach.
Myrtle Beach City Council members also made changes to a new parking ordinance and put the finishing touches on the fiscal year budget at Tuesday's council workshop.
The council will consider eliminating inspection and renewal fees for taxi cab services. It was a recommendation made by Councilman Wayne Gra, during Tuesday's workshop.
Jim Urban, with the Myrtle Beach Taxi Cab Association, spoke before council and ask the body to consider reducing the annual renewal fees listed in the taxi cab ordinance.
Urban told council that drivers are competing with Uber Services, which are subject to no regulations.
Myrtle Beach police currently conduct taxicab inspections, but Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen said if officers could be relieved of the inspection services it would reduce costs for the city and deploy officers to work other areas where needed.
"Council recommended that we take an affidavit from a mechanic or affidavit from someone else that is in the private sector to certify that the taxi cab is working properly and that is something that we are very seriously considering." Pedersen said.
Council plans to allow cab drivers to advertise businesses on their vehicles.
"Right now cabs can't advertise anything other than their own business on their vehicles," Pedersen said.
The ordinance would allow drivers to put professionally manufactured signage on the car rooftops.
Council members, including Mayor John Rhodes, said he would like to see examples of what the signage would look like before the council grants its final approval.
Urban said the industry would be willing to help regulate the ordinance and provide samples for council.
In other business, council members are finalizing the city's 2016-2017 fiscal year budget. The members approved 4.25 percent raise for all regular municipal employees that excludes appointed officials.
There is also funding for a merit program to include performance-based raises for city employees.
However, council did approve for a three mil tax increase, but the city does have a plan to soften that blow.
"Council also made sure that increase would not affect the property taxes paid by city residents, so they increased the discounted amount to cover the impact of that three mil. So there's no net increase for most of our residents," Pedersen said.
Along with the city's 2016-2017 budget, council rolled out the a five-year capital improvement plan. It highlights nine different initiatives that specifically help push the city forward.
The initiatives include the following:
- Crime Initiative: Includes efforts to train and retain qualified officers and improve community relations, deploy body cams, and more surveillance cameras.
- Neighborhood Initiative: Deals with quality of life issues in center city neighborhoods, including community watch, and more aggressive code enforcement.
- Product Development: Position the community to enhance its competitive advantage vs. other resort cities.
- Downtown Redevelopment Initiative: Includes improvement to Chapin Park, clean up effort and more aggressive code enforcement.
- Organization Development Initiative: Identify and equip the next generation of team members to be highly qualified candidates for leadership positions as senior staff members retire.
- Sports Tourism Initiative: Increase direct visitors spending and economic impact, and enhance sports tourism programs.
- Communications: Increase communications through multiple modes of media communication.
- Business Support: Promote and support local business through symposiums, "How To" workshops and local vendor preferences.