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(A) Business tax receipt required; enforcement. It shall be unlawful for any person or firm to operate water taxis without first obtaining from the city a regulatory business tax receipt, paying the permit fee required for the right to operate each vessel authorized under the business tax receipt and entering into a License Agreement with the City. The City reserves the right to enter into an exclusive agreement with a Water Taxi provider if it determines that it is in the best interest of the City. WATER TAXI is defined as a vessel operating upon the inland public waterways within the city, transporting one or more passengers for a fare, and which is controlled by a person or firm in the business of offering waterborne public transportation.
(B) Application for a water taxi business tax receipt shall be made to the Business Tax Receipt Office and must include the following information:
(1) The name, business address and telephone number of the person or firm operating the water taxi business. If a corporation or partnership, include the names of all directors, officers or partners, where applicable.
(2) A description of each vessel proposed to be utilized as a water taxi, including a copy of the state vessel registration and United States Coast Guard certificate of inspection.
(3) A list of all pilots (which must be kept current by the applicant throughout the business tax receipt period) who will operate a water taxi, including their name, address, employment history over the past five years, and a copy of the United States Coast Guard license for the class of vessel the pilot will operate.
(4) Where each water taxi will be located when not in use.
(5) The method of dispatch and the location of the dispatcher.
(6) A certificate of insurance showing the city as a named insured on a policy or policies insuring each vessel and the business for:
(a) Hull and machinery replacement.
(b) Third party and passenger liability - $1,000,000 for each vessel.
(c) Third party property damage - $50,000 per occurrence.
(d) If the business has three or more employees, evidence of Workers’ Compensation insurance, including Jones Act coverage, is required.
All insurance policies must be kept in full force and effect at all times water taxi operations take place.
(7) A duplicate certificate of insurance shall be provided with the application and shall be reviewed by the city’s Risk Manager and if said insurance meets the criteria as set forth in this section be approved by the Risk Manager.
(8) Prior to the application being submitted to the Marine Advisory Board, the applicant shall obtain and execute a general release releasing the city from any and all liability which shall be submitted to the city’s Risk Manager.
(C) The Marine Advisory Board shall review all applications. The Marine Advisory Board Chairman shall workshop each application for which all required information has been submitted for the next available regular meeting of the City Commission. The Chairman shall inform the City Commission of the Marine Advisory Board recommendation of approval or rejection of the merits of the application. Any such rejection must be limited to one or more of the aforesaid requirements not being satisfied. The public shall have the right to be heard with respect to the application. The City Commission, by motion, shall approve or reject the application for a business tax receipt, based on the applicant’s demonstration that it has the proper equipment and personnel to operate a safe and high quality water taxi operation; however, the application may be deferred to the next regular meeting if submission of additional information is required. No application from the same person or firm whose application has been rejected shall be heard by the City Commission within six months from the date of such rejection.
(D) Business tax receipt/permit.
(1) Upon the granting of a business tax receipt by the City Commission, the Business Tax Receipt Office shall give the business tax receipt holder, upon receipt of payment, a business tax receipt, if applicable, for the business and issue a permit for each vessel operated as a water taxi which shall be valid for the current fiscal year. The fee for each permit is $100 and authorizes the operation of that vessel as a water taxi for a period of two years. The permit shall be displayed on the vessel alongside the state commercial registration sticker. The water taxi business tax receipt issued by the City Commission shall be valid until such time that the water taxi business tax receipt has been revoked, suspended or that the business tax receipt holder fails to provide documentation to the city’s Risk Manager that all requirements regarding vessels, pilot licenses and insurance are in full force and effect. The required documentation to be reviewed by the city’s Risk Manager pursuant to this section as well as the renewal fee for each permit, shall be subject to the city’s Risk Manager and the Zoning Department, respectively, no later than 30 days prior to the expiration of the permit. A water taxi business tax receipt that has been revoked is not renewable. A water taxi business tax receipt that is suspended by the City Commission shall enjoy all rights previously granted by the business tax receipt upon the expiration of the suspension. A water taxi business tax receipt that has lapsed due to the business tax receipt holder failing to provide required documentation to the city’s Risk Manager or failure to pay the permit renewal fee within 30 days prior to the expiration shall cause the business tax receipt to be extinguished. Any subsequent action will require the applicant to apply for a business tax receipt as if none previously existed.
(2) A permit may not be assigned.
(E) Revocation or suspension of a business tax receipt.
(1) A business tax receipt may be revoked or suspended for any of the following causes:
(a) Failure to comply with all state and federal laws and regulations concerning the vessels of the type utilized by the business tax receipt holder.
(b) Multiple instances of careless operation of a water taxi in violation of state or local laws.
(c) Failure to maintain all required policies of insurance in full force and effect.
(d) Conviction by the business tax receipt holder, if a person, or by any director, officer or partner of the business tax receipt holder, if a corporation or a partnership, of a felony violation in this state or violation of the laws of any other state which would constitute a felony violation in this state.
(e) Submission of false or incomplete documentation or information required by this section.
(2) If the Risk Manager or Zoning Director has reason to believe that a water taxi business tax receipt should be revoked or suspended for one or more of the aforementioned causes, he shall send written notice to the business tax receipt holder to show cause to the City Commission why the business tax receipt should not be revoked or suspended. The City Manager shall agenda a revocation hearing at the next regular meeting of the City Commission held at least 15 days after receipt of the notice by the business tax receipt holder. All interested parties shall have the right to be heard. Upon finding cause, the City Commission may revoke or suspend any business tax receipt and the permits issued thereunder.
(F) Municipal dock facilities; mooring in residential areas.
(1) A permitted water taxi may board and discharge passengers at any vacant city- owned dock facility, except at dock space which has been leased to a charter or sightseeing vessel operator. The business tax receipt holder’s right to occupy the right-of-way or any property owned by the city is subordinate to the city’s use of said premises. If the facility has not been designated as a water taxi stop, the water taxi may remain at the facility only for as long as is required to safely board and discharge its passengers.
(2) A municipal dock facility may be designated by the City Manager or his designee as a water taxi stop. Each is to be utilized on the first come-first served basis. At each stop, the captain of a water taxi shall remain within five feet of the vessel except for the purpose of entering a structure, such as a restaurant, and announcing his arrival. No water taxi shall remain moored at a stop for longer than 15 consecutive minutes.
(3) No water taxi shall remain moored adjacent to a residential structure except to board or discharge passengers.
(4) No water taxi shall fuel while moored at any municipal dock facility; all fueling shall be carried out at a marine service station.
(G) Loudspeakers and spotlights. No water taxi shall at any time have in use loudspeakers or any device to amplify sound, with the exception of an internal intercom system, the sounding of horns for navigational purposes, passenger pickup and discharge for safety- related purposes, or in the case of an emergency. No water taxi shall at any time, except for safety-related purposes, illuminate by spotlight or any other means any of the sights or places of interest located along its route of operation including, but not limited to, residential dwellings, businesses or government buildings.
(H) Enforcement. This section shall be enforced by the City Police Department and the City Code Enforcement Department.
(Ord. 92-47, passed 6-23-92; Am. Ord. 2007-57, passed 7-10-07; Am. Ord. 2017-62, passed 7-25-17)