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Councilors OK Five Year Towing and Impound Services Agreement

For the next five years, the City of Wichita Falls' towing and impounding of cars will be done by one business.  That decision was made in a six-to-one vote today at the Wichita Falls City Council meeting.  It was met with opposition as some local towing companies say this resolution will put them out of business.
    In mid-December, city staff put out a Request for Proposals, or RFP, to include impound and towing services for city operations that would include wrecked vehicle, which the police department currently handles.
    Wichita Falls City Manager Darron Leiker says, "The way that process works is we publish notice on our city website, we publish notice in the newspaper, we basically follow state law as to how that notice is distributed.  We had two companies that chose to respond to the RFP."
    Officials say Jody Wade Enterprises, and its affiliates: Big Daddy's and Collins Towing and Recovery, submitted a proposal which included additional storage space and impound space for vehicles and evidence at a lot in the 31-hundred block of Armory Road.
    "We valued it at about $150- to $250-thousand of value every year to the city," Leiker says.
    Officials say the bid was in the city's best interest.
    Under the agreement, all wrecked vehicles in the city will now be handled by Jody Wade Enterprises, unless the vehicle owner specifies using another company.
    Other towing company owners says this takes away from their business.
    Ricardo Cantu, owner of Cantu Towing, says, "It's going to affect our business greatly.  Our revenue was about $250-thousand a year from those wrecks for just my own company."
    Allen Palmatary, owner of Al's Automotive, says, "We need the wrecks to survive in business."
    For several years, the city has operated on a towing rotation, where each company involved would get a turn to tow wrecked vehicles.
    Now that most companies in the city will no longer have that business...
    "I'll definitely be looking elsewhere," Cantu says.
    "I'm not going to move.  I'll probably do other things," Palmatary says.
    The city's towing rotation will cease at the end of March and Jody Wade Enterprises will handle city operations starting in April.
    City officials say they certainly hope this decision doesn't put any companies out of business.
    Business owners and individuals can still request the towing company they desire to use, which provide a source of revenue for those companies.
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