FAIRFIELD — City leaders this week gave their consent to a new ordinance that will allow the city to deny taxi licenses to people convicted of certain offences.
The city council discussed the proposal at a meeting last month, then held a public hearing and approved an amendment to the public safety ordinance on Wednesday.
The change means that someone convicted of certain crimes will be denied a taxi license by the chief of police, although there is a process under which an appeal can be made.
Some of the crimes for which an application may be refused are murder, attempted murder, manslaughter if the conviction is the result of dangerous driving or driving under the influence, stalking, reckless driving aggravated if it is vehicle kidnapping, invasion of privacy and theft. .
The ordinance already contained rules regarding convictions for other offences, such as driving under the influence, sex crimes and motor vehicle offences. A person convicted of such crimes cannot apply for a license within a certain period of time from the date of conviction, depending on the offense.
The changes approved Wednesday mean the city can permanently deny a license to an applicant convicted of a serious violation.
Police Chief Thomas Gould said in August the issue was a safety concern for residents, as taxis often pick people up late at night or when someone is intoxicated, and can lead children. Currently, he said, someone convicted of murder 11 years ago can apply for a permit and the police department cannot deny it.
City Manager Michelle Flewelling said on Friday that police faced a case this summer where a person applying for a license was convicted of a crime 11 years ago. Gould was not comfortable with approving the license application, but there was no legal recourse to deny it.
“It was a situation that we recently encountered that triggered this for me,” Gould previously said.
Flewelling said she didn’t know if that person ended up getting a license or not, and Gould was on vacation and unavailable to explain it further this week.
The changes to the ordinance also adjust certain terms relating to the regulation of garage sales and eliminate the need for a permit to hold a garage sale on a person’s property.
The council also repealed the Solid Waste Ordinance, which dealt with the regulation of solid waste haulers and the city’s contract with Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. The city backed out of that contract several years ago, so the order was no longer relevant.
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