Watertown City Council defeats application for new taxi cab company (Audio)

Photo courtesy KWAT's Mike Tanner

December 6, 2021
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–After more than an hour of debate and discussion, two votes on the issue, and a late change of his vote by Mayor Ried Holien, the Watertown City Council turned down a license request for a new taxi cab company.

Debra Gagne appeared before the council to request a license to operate as Need-A-Ride Taxi, which has different rules of operation than a transportation network company like Uber or Lyft.

Gagne told the council there’s a need for more taxi services in Watertown…..

Gagne has a state-issued license to operate a shuttle service in Watertown, which is different than a taxi service. But she was fined by the city for operating like a taxi company, and for that reason, Councilman Colin Paulsen was opposed to giving her a license…

The first vote to award the license to Gagne was soundly defeated. But a motion to reconsider the vote was approved.

The second vote to approve the license was contingent upon Gagne giving up her state-issued license to operate as a shuttle service. That was defeated too, on a 4-3 vote, but only after Mayor Holien changed his vote from yes to no.