PROPOSALS THAT COULD see an increase in licence fees charged to taxi and private car operators in Moray are going out for public consultation.
The latest public exercise is the first stage in a review of such services being carried out with the costs of processing and issuing licenses being studied by the local authority.
New fees for operators are aimed to have a closer relationship with the costs incurred in issuing them by Moray Council – although the move is unlikely to be welcomed by the operators themselves, who will insist that any squeeze on their costs will lead to an inevitable fall in the number of operators in the region.
Councillor Gordon Cowie, who is chair of the licencing committee, insists that the Council do not make a profit from processing licence applications but it was required to cover costs in dealing with several hundred such cases each year.
He said: “The revised fees reflect as accurately as possible the amount of staff time and fixed costs involved in processing licence applications. All this information has been gathered and has been used to produce a table of costs by licence type.
“It is only fair that the full cost of operating the licensing system is recovered by the council, otherwise council taxpayers are effectively subsidising each and every licence that we issue.
“It is also important that there is full cost recovery at a time when the council is faced with unprecedented budget cuts while trying to protect frontline services.”
However, the owner of one Taxi firm, Rod McLennan of C&R Taxis, said that every increase to the cost of licences made it harder to keep vehicles on the road. While recognising that inflation would force prices to rise, he said that sometimes the council applies increases higher than the cost of inflation.
The consultation on taxi and private hire licences will is now open and will close on May 27, with a view to a report going to the licensing committee on June 29.
Comments on the proposals should be e-mailed to email@example.com or sent in writing to the Head of Legal and Democratic Services, Council Offices, High Street, Elgin, IV30 1BX.