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Taxi business approved

MURFREESBORO — A taxi service may be coming to Murfreesboro.

Robert Joyner recently presented the Murfreesboro Town Council with his proposal for a taxi service in the town.

Joyner said he was there to get the council’s “blessing” in applying to operate a taxi service.

“I feel that it’s a service to the community,” he said. “As it is now I don’t think we have a taxi service and I think Murfreesboro is on its way up.”

Joyner said the town has a great history and he wanted his business to be a part of that.

“I want to be a vital part in the growth of this town,” he said.

Town Administrator Brandon Holland said town officials had spoken with Joyner about the process and the potential to having this type of service in town.

“The very first step in this process is confirming there is a need for this (service) in town from council,” Holland said. “This is a very extensive process, so it would help to say no today or encourage him to go ahead with the application.”

Mayor John Hinton asked if Police Chief Darrell Rowe had any comments on the proposal.

Rowe said he had spoken with Holland and met with Joyner about the process and he had no problem with Joyner starting a taxi business.

Councilwoman Gloria Odum asked Code Enforcement Officer Gene Flowers about how the business would fall into his jurisdiction.

Flowers said very little of it would fall under Code Enforcement with the exception of the beginning of the application process, which he along with Rowe and Holland had discussed preliminaries.

“At this point we recommend moving forward with his request as presented,” he said.

Mayor Pro-Tempore Sarah Wallace asked about the insurance for the business.

Joyner said has spoken with an insurance company regarding specialty insurance.

“I would hate to go and get insurance without (the council’s) blessing,” he said.

Councilman Hal Thomas questioned if Joyner’s business would be required to operate out of a building.

Joyner said he looked at the state regulations and certain ones  apply more to larger populations.

“Here, it would be very expensive to maintain that,” Joyner said. “Keeping the (number of) cars down, I would hope that a building is not required. I would hope it’s one of those things we can work on together.”

Thomas asked Joyner if he was looking to have a taxi stand on any part of Main Street.

Joyner said he did not intend to have one.

“Most of it would be customers would be calling you and asking (for service),” said Wallace.

“Yes,” he responded.

Councilman Randy Roberts asked how many cars Joyner would be operating.

Joyner said he intended it to be only him operating the business.

Odum said there was a history of two taxi services being operated in Murfreesboro and those were operated out of the owner’s home.

Wallace moved to allow Joyner to proceed with the application process with Holland and Rowe. Odum offered a second and the motion passed without objection.

In other town business, the council approved support for a Building Reuse Grant application made by Laurie Brook to the North Carolina Rural Center.

During the process the town will serve as the liaison between the grantor and grantee.

In that motion, the council also agreed to five percent of the project cost. However, Holland explained in is his memo to the council that five percent will not come from the town’s coffers.

“The check will come from the town, but the actual funds will come from Laurie Brook,” the memo said.

Roberts was recused from the vote on the matter.

The council also approved the expansion and upgrade to the Cotton Street pump station in preparation for Chowan University’s new residence halls. Engineer Robert Graham reported to the council that the upgrades will be sufficient enough for the phased out construction of Whites Crossing residential complex.

The price of engineering services comes in at $9,500 while the estimate cost of the construction is $140,000. According to town policy, the town will be fully reimbursed by the university.

The council approved the transfer of $15,500 from fund balance to the Police Department for the reinstatement of a maintenance agreement and to complete funding for a K-9 operation. Of that amount $5,700 will go toward the maintenance agreement needed to have a piece of police equipment fixed and $9,800 will go toward funding the rest of the amount for the K-9 operation.

Holland noted the police department has raised more than half of the amount needed for the operation through fundraisers.

“This (K-9) operation will only bring money to the town, there’s no loss here,” said Holland. “What we’re requesting today is the $5,700 and $9,800 from fund balance, which is available. This will not be a significant hit to our fund balance.”

Holland said the maintenance agreement was needed as well because it was like insurance when it comes to expensive equipment.