North Adams council president clarifies board's role in granting taxi licenses

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NORTH ADAMS — It was over before it really began.

City Council President Keith Bona had asked the council last month to investigate why it reviews and signs off on each and every application for a taxi driver licence in North Adams.

But before the council could even refer the matter to a committee for further deliberation, it received a clear-cut answer.

"I received information from the City Administrator making us aware that there's actually a state law that says [taxi licenses] must go through City Council," Bona told councilors at the regular City Council meeting March 26. "It's something that's required."

Chapter 159A of Massachusetts General Law specifies that the City Council or Select Board of a town must issue such licenses.

The council's role in approving taxi licenses has been periodically questioned over the years, with some wondering how sharply they should scrutinize applications for minor errors and others asking aloud why they review licenses at all.

The application process starts in the office of the City Clerk — an appointee of the City Council — but drivers are ultimately subject to a background check and review by the Department of Public Safety.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.

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