Numerous tow truck companies and their employees filled the Bellaire City Council chambers Monday night to hear a discussion about the city looking into an exclusive towing service franchise.
Mayor Cindy Siegel was recently approached by a towing company that suggested that the city might receive a more favorable rate by entering into an exclusive towing service franchise for the towing of disabled vehicles.
Council unanimously approved last night directing staff to gather more information about actions it can take in regards to an exclusive towing service. Staff was asked to come back to council with the options.
Five people spoke against the city making any changes in regards to its towing permits.
“I am against the proposal that would put 75 different drivers and their families out of a job,” Cotner Cody Culpepper, a Bellaire business owner and tow truck permit holder, said.
Suzanne Poole, a permit holder and a Missouri City resident said the tow truck companies have been pushed out of the city because of Houston’s SAFEClear program.
“You are our last strong holders,” Poole said. “We’re asking you to keep us in business.”
Poole said she doesn’t know of anyone with 75 trucks to put out on the street and would like to know what the complaints are.
Alex Gonik, an area resident and tow truck permit holder, said he had a lot of ideas and would like to work with the city to find other options.
Siegel said that this came forward as a potential revenue source, not because of a complaint.
Police Chief Randall Mack told council that the city doesn’t get many complaints about tow truck companies.
“It’s a good group,” Mack said. “We’ve hardly ever had a complaint.”
The city has 75 towing permits from 32 different companies, he said. The city has about 800 non-consent tows a year.
“I’m pretty happy with the way we do things right now,” City Manager Bernie Satterwhite, Jr. said. “I think we heard a lot of things tonight that need to be considered.”
Staff was directed to get more information about towing options to bring back to council at a future meeting.