New taxi service in Lenoir approved

Feb. 07, 2013 @ 02:43 AM

A new taxi company has been approved to fill the void left by the closing of Howard’s Yellow Cab.

During Tuesday night’s meeting of the Lenoir City Council, the panel approved the permitting of Yellow Cab Company to replace the business that closed in November because of owner Steve Sumlin’s health problems.

Lenoir Police Chief Scott Brown said three companies had applied for the privilege license needed to operate the business, but Yellow Cab Company owner James Matlock was the only applicant to complete the process of checking drivers' backgrounds as well as the inspection of each taxi cab to ensure compliance with state law and city ordinance.

Council members pointed out that the license does not give Yellow exclusive rights in the city, so the other two companies could set up shop if they complete the process required for approval.

Brown also called for the council to make changes to the ordinances outlining that process. Currently, taxi companies interested in operating in the city limits must receive approval of the city council after the police chief makes a recommendation.

City staff recommended the council approve a change that would remove the city council approval from the process. A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for Feb. 19.

In other action, the city issued a proclamation recognizing February as Black History Month. The Rev. Charlie Rivens of Smith Memorial United Methodist Church and Lester Whittington of the Martin Luther King Center outlined several key events of celebration throughout the month.