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.