The following were among actions taken at Tuesday's meeting of the Prince George's County Council. For more information, call 952-5182.
TAXICAB LEGISLATION -- In the wake of complaints by county taxicab owners and drivers, council member Frank P. Casula introduced a bill calling for the council to establish a board to regulate the county taxicab industry.
"The number of taxicabs has increased 40 percent in the last year and a half with no additional support from the county. We feel the community, the drivers and the owners need a forum to voice their complaints," said Stephen M. Barnes, owner of Maryland Transportation Specialist, the holding company for eight county taxicab companies. "The taxicab regulations haven't been changed since the 1960s, and it's time to do it," Barnes said.
If the five-member board is approved, its first order of business could be a rate increase recommendation to boost the minimum flat rate for cab rides from $1 to $1.50, according to the Department of Environmental Resources. Under the proposal, the commission would make rate increase recommendations to the county executive.
Casula said his legislation is in response to complaints by cab drivers that the county currently licenses too many cabs in some areas of the county and not enough in others, thereby creating a monopoly for some companies.
The county currently limits to 700 the number of taxis that can be licensed in the county at any given time. About 400 more cabs are currently on a waiting list for licensing, according to a spokesman for the county's Department of Environmental Resources, which oversees the licensing process.
In addition, Casula said he also has received complaints from new drivers who have waited for six to eight weeks to obtain cab drivers' licenses and from others who have applied for licenses and been put are on a waiting list. There is currently no limit on the number of licensed cab drivers in the county, only on the number of cabs. There are now 900 licensed county cab drivers, county officials said.
The proposed legislation would provide a forum for drivers' and consumers' complaints and also provide better enforcement of county regulations, county officials said.
EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANT -- The council voted unanimously to authorize administrators of the Addison Road emergency shelter to spend a $17,200 state grant to run the county's emergency shelter for homeless people.
According to Paul Bifoss, director of resource development for the county's homeless population, the grant will be used as follows: $13,500 to pay for 1987 rental of the shelter at 603 Addison Rd., Capitol Heights; $2,026 for 1987 utility bills; $874 to pay the telephone bill; $800 to buy additional furniture.
Bifoss said the council's vote came just as bills were beginning to mount at the county shelter, which is filled to capacity with 20 adult men and women.
The shelter, which houses the homeless for a maximum of eight weeks at a time, is run by the county's Department of Social Services and supported in part by charitable organizations supported by the Catholic church.
Bifoss said the county Department of Social Services applied for the grant in March and was notified by state officials in May that it had been approved. Before any such grant can be awarded, the project for which it was requested must be approved by local government authorities.