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Tow truck companies say a flat rate ordinance unfair

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader

 

The city of Orange recently reviewed it’s tow truck ordinance after concerns for its rotation list were questioned. As the ordinance was presented to the council in March of this year for the council to review, it has stirred up more than the rotation list policy as one change affected fees.

Fees for towing non-consent vehicles would now up to a maximum of $175, according to the changes.

Robbie Rider, with Gilbeaux’s Towing, presented the council with pictures of wrecks in which the company had been on the scene.

“It took three wreckers to clean the mess up,” Rider said about one photo. “This is one of an 18-wheeler on stop of an Accord. What you don’t see is the victim is still inside the vehicle. It took seven hours on this one. It can’t be done for $175.”

Another picture presented was of a vehicle in the water which the tow truck company had to swim out to the car in order to be able to retrieve it.

“You can’t put a flat rate on recovery,” Rider said. “It’s not feasible.”

In a previous meeting on the matter, Richard Gilbeaux said the ordinance is not fair and tow truck owners should have been included in the process.
Car Wars Carl Vanderstucken, at that time, said a survey should have been conducted before a proposed fee was determined.

Council member Annette Pernell thanked Rider for speaking during Citizen Comments at the Tuesday morning meeting.

“This does help,” Pernell said. “A limit should not be our decision. What you do may not be glamorous but done to help somebody.”

Council member Terrie Salter pointed out caps are there to protect citizens from abuse but agreed the ordinance needs to be looked at again.

“It is your business, perhaps you should be involved,” Salter said. “It really opened my eyes. You’re not thinking about millions of pieces in the street.”

Council member Paul Burch, also a business owner, said, “In my opinion, the city does not have the place to tell someone how much to charge. Not in my salon. Not in Brad’s repair shop.”

“A definition needs to be made on the difference between a tow and a wreck clean up,” Council member Brad Childs added.