Raleigh taxi drivers are threatening to strike if the city does not correct issues forcing cab drivers to work for less than minimum wage.
Carrying posters and American flags, members of the North Carolina Taxi Workers Alliance (NCTWA) urged the Raleigh City Council Tuesday to move forward with recommendations presented at their April 5 meeting.
“It is indisputable that taxi drivers in Raleigh earn less than minimum wage due to the rise in costs of living and the skyrocketing fuel prices,” said Lent Carr, who spoke on behalf of the NCTWA. “Drivers have little or no input on the regulations that are forced upon them by the regulating agency that oversees the industry.”
Carr called for the creation of a City of Raleigh taxi cab commission to advise the city council on city issues that affect the industry. At the April meeting, NCTWA board member Fredrick Jones presented issues of concern, such as zoning and meter hikes.
The union threatened to go on strike if a resolution was not reached in the near future.
City Manager Russell Allen said his office contacted Jones to obtain a list of preferred taxi sites and to review the necessary requirements, but never heard back from him or another union representative.
Mayor Charles Meeker asked the city clerk for more information on the previous council-approved rate hike that occurred when gas prices last increased.
Convention Center Event Rent to Increase
The council approved a 3 percent rate increase for events that will take place in the convention center and amphitheater. The increases will be effective immediately and cover rental fees and the rates charged for labor, equipment and services.
The unanimous vote came after a motion by Councilman Thomas Crowder to remove the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts from the resolution. He questioned how the increase would affect small, non-profit groups that commonly use the center.
“It just may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” he said.
Councilwoman Mary Ann Baldwin requested an equivalent dollar range for the 3 percent hike, but City Manager Russell Allen was unable to provide one during Tuesday’s meeting.
Council members will further discuss the performing arts center in committee.
Fees Increased for Public Utilities
Developer fees for some public utilities will increase by 2.7 percent, after a 7 to 1 vote in favor of the change:
- Acreage Fee Reimbursement
- Nutrient Reduction Fee – Water and Sewer
- Sewer Main Extension and Sewer Service Connection Inspection Fees
- Tap Fee Schedule
- Utility Acreage Fees
- Water Meter Installation Charge
These fees are paid by developers; residents will not see these changes on their utility bills.
Sidewalk Discussion Continues for Lake Boone Trail and New Hope Church Road
While the council approved new sidewalks for sections of streets throughout the city, two areas were sent to committee for further discussion.
Prior to the meeting, the portion of Lake Boone Trail from Interstate 440 to Dixie Trail came under fire from residents who called the project a waste of taxpayer money. They also had concerns about safety and how it would affect trees along the road.
Similar complaints were made about New Hope Church Road between Green Road and Ingram Drive. Residents also complained that the sidewalk would not connect to the nearby shopping center.