$20,000 Minimum Bid Discourages Veterans From Bidding for Taxi Medallion

CRUZ BAY — For the second year in a row, no bids were placed for the two St. John taxi medallions allotted annually for purchase by St. John Veterans of the U.S. Armed Services.

The minimum acceptable bid for a St. John medallion was set at $20,000 for the auction by the Virgin Islands Taxicab Commission on Tuesday, December 16, at the St. John Administrator’s Office.

There were no qualified bidders or bids, according to V.I. Taxi Commission Executive Director Judith Wheatley.

“We had nobody that submitted,” Wheatley told St. John Tradewinds.

Those two taxi licenses, as well as the two which went unsold in 2013, are gone forever, according to Wheatley.

“That’s it; it does not roll over,” said the taxi commission official.

At least one veteran who does not have a medallion said the process should have allowed for a lower minimum bid – if any minimum was allowed at all.

It was not clear how the V.I. statutes direct the Taxi Commission in setting a minimum bid for the legislated veteran’s licenses. The commission was forced by statute to resume making two medallions available to St. John veterans each year after going an extended period without issuing any new medallions at all.

Now “the price is too high,” the Vietnam War veteran told St. John Tradewinds.

The Commission conducted its annual veteran medallion auctions on all three islands on December 15, 16 and 17. This auction was open only to V.I. Veterans of the U.S. Armed Services.

Bid applicants had to be present at the time of auction and bid envelopes were to be publicly opened pursuant to Title 20, Section 407 (c) of the V.I. Code.

Applications had to be taken to the Office of Veterans Affairs for verification of eligibility as a U.S. Virgin Island veteran on the island for which the bid was scheduled. Only approved buyers could submit bids.

Any persons who purchases a medallion at auction pursuant to this subsection is prohibited from transferring said medallion by sale, lease or otherwise, within three years of purchase. Thereafter such transfer or sale must be to another eligible veteran.

The minimum acceptable bid also was set at $20,000 for St. Thomas and $8,000 for St. Croix.