Tuesday, August 23, 2011

STAR Bonds Deal Slows, But Still Moving Forward

Though it seems like months since anything new has broken about STAR Bonds development deal for Marion, it's still moving forward, just at a pace frustrating to local officials.

The Marion City Council had two items on the agenda last night about the project, but delayed votes on both. The agenda labeled the items the "Millennium contract" and the "Holland Ancillary contract." Mayor Robert Butler told the council the two contracts weren't quite ready yet.

In other business with a bit of tourism impact the council created a new set of taxi licenses which will replace the current system. For years the city has limited the number of licenses available with existing companies able to buy up licenses and prevent competition.

The new system sets the license at $100 and no limits on the number that can be issued. The Marion Daily Republican provided the details.
Marcus Commander had approached the council previously and was present again Monday as the council changed its policy to accommodate his business and to keep others from monopolizing the market.

The council now requires a vehicle to go with each license, with a $100 annual fee per vehicle as well as proof of liability insurance with at least $500,000 in coverage. The current licensing system will be phased out by next June.

“We are putting no provision on the rates to be charged,” Butler said. “I felt that free enterprise and competition will take care of those rates.”

Kudos to the council for the action.