Columbia City Council discusses cab situation
What has been about six years since the last taxi cab fare adjustment, responding to higher prices in gasoline, is now finally on the books as Columbia’s new regulated rates. The drop rate, the price paid for just getting the cab to show up, is now a flat $ 2.00, while it was previously $1.80.
The mileage kicks in at $ 0.25 every 1/ 10 of a mile, or $2.50 per mile, a $ 0.50 increase from the previous $ 2.00. The first completed mile, then, is a combination of the drop rate and $ 0.25 times 10, which comes to $4.50 all told. Ten miles is $25 plus the drop rate of $ 2.00, which adds up to $ 27. There might be an additional fuel surcharge should gasoline hit $4.00 a gallon, at which point the total fare goes up by a single dollar regardless of distance traveled.
The $4.00 mark will be determined by the prevailing American Automobile Association gas-price survey for Columbia. Dallas Ball, owner of Columbia’s Checker Yellow Cab Company, testified before council. Ball suggested a mileage rate of $0.23 per 1/10, or $2.30 per mile, but he was flexible and accepted the $ 2.50 per mile approved by council.
Cab security questioned
Howard Winslow, Cab driver #71 at Checker Yellow, told council cameras installed inside the cabs should deter crime and might even help solve crime for the more than 300 drivers in town.
In a matter of months, four Columbia cab drivers have been shot, most recently last Sunday night, October 16, along North Main. The driver/victim drove himself to the hospital and survived. As Winslow put it, “It’s dangerous out there, folks. We don’t have a safe city.” Council member Rickenmann recommended Winslow help organize representation for the city’s cab drivers and present a unified voice for the benefit of all.
City’s favorite for September
Legrand Ingram, a city Recycling Truck Driver III, Solid Waste Division, was recognized as the city’s September 2011 Employee of the Month. Ingram works in recycling.
City favorite for October
Robert McCracken, an investigator with the city police, was introduced by Chief Randy Scott as the city’s October 2011 Employee of the Month.
Fast Forward anniversary
Dee Albritton, executive director of computer school Fast Forward, shared some history with council. She recalled her start with Fast Forward at Hand Middle School in 1999. Today, Fast Forward is a major player in adult education besides continuing with children. Albritton is particularly proud of Fast Forward’s success with veterans. South Carolina, she said, has the 18th largest number of veterans in the country.
Miriam Atria, executive director of Capital City Lake Murray, talked about a major fishing tournament coming to Lake Murray called FLW College Fishing. Altria shared her confidence the same tournament should return for a second time, again with the college students as competitors. Capital improvements
Council approved contracts for water and sewer repair and improvement. Dukes Root Control of Syracuse, N. Y., was awarded a contract for $ 757,560.12 to remove roots inside sanitary sewers.
Columbia-based Trussell Brothers Construction won a $778,307 contract for water main improvements along Trenholm Road.
The Columbia office of LPA Group was hired for engineering services totaling $ 876,265.39 to help with the flooding problems along Read Street. Little Mountain-based
McClam and Associates was awarded $3,618,247.24 as a change order to cover 2,000 additional linear feet of 48” sewer line among other added costs. The change order gave the project a total cost of about $ 13.5 million.
What was budgeted originally for almost $ 20 million actually came in with a lowest bid of $11,298,900 by Columbiabased
M. B. Kahn Construction for the wastewater treatment plant final clarifiers, necessary for a more reliable operation.
Fire service for the county
The City of Columbia Fire Department provides service for Richland County, which has no fire department of its own. The county promised 15 months ago to come to the table soon enough with a contract to help the city with the cost of running a county- wide fire department. Council agreed to give the county notice. If the county continues to fail to come to terms, the city will wait until January 1, 2012, and no longer, at which time the city will give the county a sixmonth notice. As of July 1, 2012, the city will cut county service.
Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Tuesday, November 1, at 6:00 p.m. in City Hall at the corner of Laurens Street and Main Street.