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Ogdensburg City Council forces taxis to show identification

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OGDENSBURG — Taxicabs in the city will be required to more clearly distinguish themselves thanks to a law the City Council approved Monday.

According to the law, taxis must clearly display their operating license and rates inside the vehicles, while their company affiliation and telephone number have to be obvious on the outside.

Those found in violation of the law will be faced with a $250 fine or, if they refuse to pay, revocation of their license.

Police Chief Richard J. Polniak Jr. said the force will use its discretion in enforcing the law to ensure it is not burdensome.

One of the main points of contention during deliberations was the time taxi drivers and owners should have to place the information on additions to their fleets.

Dennis LaCombe, owner of LaCombe Taxi Service, said it can take time to get decals added to vehicles.

Mr. LaCombe said it would be a burden if taxi owners were not able to drive new cars unless they were properly marked and proposed a 30-day grace period be added to the law.

Councilor William D. Hosmer said, “I think they need 15 days to put something on their car,” but on the advice of Mr. Polniak and City Manager John M. Pinkerton, the council passed the law without a grace period.

If taxi operators can show they have arrangements to comply with the law, they will not face punishment, Mr. Polniak said.

However, on the advice of Mr. Pinkerton, the council changed language in the law that originally called for a 15-day jail sentence if law-breakers did not pay the $250 fine.

Mr. Pinkerton said that could create costly litigation.

The council approved the law unanimously.

According to Ogdensburg City Clerk Kathleen A. Bouchard, there are six registered taxis in the city.

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