City Council members were expected to take several steps this week related to tow franchises. They were expect to vote on a resolution setting towing and storage rates for city-initiated tows in addition to having a preliminary vote on an ordinance awarding three-year, non-exclusive franchises to three towing companies which met city requirements.
The council also was expected to vote on a resolution expressing its intent to award the franchise agreements and conduct a public hearing.
All those actions were postponed until August or possibly September after council members listened to a representative of Pacific Towing, one of two companies that submitted proposal but did not meet city requirements to be considered for a franchise agreement.
Emma Juarez told council members Monday the company would like to address issues that resulted in its disqualification adding they "should not be reasons for disqualification."
According to a city staff report, the company lacked appropriate security fencing on one side of the property; lacked screening on two sides of the property; did not have enough off-street parking for customers and has not operated in the city for two full calendar years.
Members of the Police Department, who inspected the facilities, also noted Pacific shares a common gate and driveway with another establishment, the staff report said.
Juarez said the company does meet parking requirements and could make adjustments to meet the criteria. She also expressed concerns some requirements make it difficult for new companies to compete and suggested the city make adjustments.
Councilwoman Paula Lantz asked Juarez if she and others at Pacific realized the requirements called for having a 6-foot security fence around the property.
"After the inspection, we thought there would be a dialogue," Juarez said.
Council members suggested holding off moving ahead with the towing-related matters.
The additional time will allow staff provide council members a report explaining the process including the drafting of the request for proposal, the review of proposals and the inspection process, as requested by Mayor Elliott Rothman.
"I want to see the exact mechanics as to how it works," Rothman said.
Deputy City Manager Mark Gluba said Wednesday the staff will compile the requested information and send letters to the two unsuccessful companies saying they can request another inspection.
During the meeting council members also requested information on towing and storage rates.
In 2006 the council approved increases for tows requested by the city, the staff report said. The increases included 5 percent adjustments over the previous year's rate through 2009.
Towing companies requested an increase in 2009 but City Council members denied it, the staff report said.
Companies have once again requested an increase for when the new franchise agreements take effect.
The towing rate for a standard car or truck is $133 an hour with the proposed rate at $170 an hour, the staff report said. The rates are based on the average rates of companies which tow vehicles at the request of the Baldwin Park office of the California Highway Patrol.