N. Augusta wreckers fume over policy changes

Monday, March 7, 2011 10:14 PM
Last updated 10:34 PM
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NORTH AUGUSTA -- North Augusta wreckers are upset over changes the Department of Public Safety is looking to make in regulations for its wrecker rotation list.

City Council held a study session meeting Monday to field complaints from wreckers as well as hear what Public Safety Chief John Thomas had to say about why changes are being made.

After listening to complaints, mixed with some praise, about the proposed requirements, council members shared their concerns and ideas with Thomas. But ultimately, Thomas makes the final decision.

Wrecker list procedures are reviewed every December and June, and wrecker services can request to be added to the list before Jan. 1 and July 1 of each year. On Sept. 20, Kendrick Paint & Body Shop requested to be added to the list, followed by other companies.

Because the North Augusta wrecker list had dwindled to three companies, Thomas decided to allow additional companies.

Current policy requires that wrecker companies be located within city limits, but Kendrick is outside the city. North Augusta wreckers such as Total Automotive are not happy with the idea of adding up to six more companies that have requested to be put on the list, saying it could possibly put them out of business by taking away their revenue.

"I can't see it being better for the people of North Augusta," said Larry Spence of Total Automotive.

Public Safety says the ultimate goal is to provide residents with timely service. Spence said he doesn't see how a company 15 miles away can respond withinin the time limits of 20 minutes during peak hours and 30 minutes during off-peak hours.

"If something is not broken, why are we trying to fix it?" Spence said of the current regulations. "I don't see how this is going to work better when there wasn't a problem before."

Companies and council members argued that allowing companies within 15 minutes of the city on the list will mean that cars will be towed farther away, creating an inconvenience for residents who need to retrieve their vehicles.

New regulations also require wrecker companies on the list to maintain $750,000 in liability insurance; currently, the minimum is $300,000.

After input from council, Mayor Lark Jones told Thomas he would like to see the following changes:

  • Storage facilities must be located within five miles of the city limits;
  • The wrecker list procedures should be reviewed annually, not twice a year; and
  • Any new policy should not take effect before July 1.

The mayor also suggested that the rotation list be limited to eight or fewer companies.

"We will take these suggestions and fix it," Thomas said.

Changing the radius to five miles will eliminate some companies from consideration, Thomas said, and public safety officials are still debating whether to allow companies in Georgia that meet the five-mile requirement to be on the list.

Lt. Tim Pearson said the department will make a decision "in the very near future." He is unsure whether changes would take affect July 1 or Jan. 1, 2012.

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Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 03/07/11 - 11:42 pm
0
0
We give them most of their

We give them most of their income and they're thinking of not even letting us park their cars...

usapatriot
0
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usapatriot 03/08/11 - 02:05 am
0
0
Lets see. They're short on

Lets see. They're short on companies and currently review and add companies every 6 months. When they add companies, others complain. The mayor wants to only review and add every 12 months.

That's a solution?

How about change the response time a few minutes? Or let those wreckers w/i 15 minutes respond during peak hours and others when time is not so important?

Company needs to be w/i N. Augusta to be convienient to the owner? Who says every vehicle towed is from N. Augusta?

And besides, with the cut throat charges, what is convienient about any of it?

OTH, the liability to $750k is excessive.

usapatriot
0
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usapatriot 03/08/11 - 02:09 am
0
0
"...Total Automotive are not

"...Total Automotive are not happy with the idea of adding up to six more companies that have requested to be put on the list, saying it could possibly put them out of business by taking away their revenue."

1st of all, it's not "your" revenue. You are not ENTITLED to anything. If you have based your business solely or mostly upon this, you're the fool.

acstrauss
28
Points
acstrauss 03/08/11 - 01:18 pm
0
0
That would explain these

That would explain these "pop-up" towing storage areas like Wayne's by Adam's Supply and Chancey's near Bob Richard's Toyota

Austin Rhodes
2852
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Austin Rhodes 03/08/11 - 09:10 am
0
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I don't think North Augusta

I don't think North Augusta residents should use the hospitals in Aiken or Augusta. That makes as much sense as this policy. If the wreckers can provide timely service, who cares where they come from?

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 03/08/11 - 09:32 am
0
0
A couple of thoughts. 1.

A couple of thoughts.

1. These companies can go apply to work in other cities also - they should do it now to ensure their business doesn't slow down

2. A duopoloy doesn't make financial sense for a city or the consumer - though I do believe that local governments should try their best to support local businesses first (provided that there is no price gouging going on)

WoodyKaminer
2
Points
WoodyKaminer 03/08/11 - 09:46 am
0
0
Haha Austin, thats a great

Haha Austin, thats a great point. If we cant go over there, they cant come over here-seems fair. And thats not a dig on NA. I happen to like it over there.

aggrevatedparent
0
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aggrevatedparent 03/08/11 - 09:55 am
0
0
I live in NA. Love it for the

I live in NA. Love it for the most part - Government could use a lot of tweeking! As the owner of the vehicle needing to be towed, shouldn't I have the right to choose which co. tows my vehicle and cuts my throat with the outrageous prices they all charge?? Next thing you know - gov. officials will tell me where to lay my head at night - stupid waste of time and money - argue about something relevant for once

Brian Tucker
0
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Brian Tucker 03/08/11 - 10:21 am
0
0
Just for the record, the

Just for the record, the insurance level is a national standard.
The wrecker service rotation is only called if you don't have a preference. North Augusta companies are not allowed on the Augusta rotation, and as for Austin's comments- City government should support local(North Augusta) businesses whenever possible. There's more to this than what you see on the surface. The meetings last night allowed all sides to be heard, and I think all parties are better for it.

peonynut
2
Points
peonynut 03/08/11 - 10:39 am
0
0
If you want to complain or

If you want to complain or get changes made go to Sam Bennett instead of John Thomas because John Thomas does not make a decision about anything unless he runs it by Bennett. If Bennett approves it then Thomas approves it and vice versa. There is a reason Thomas is here after all they came from the same town.

Dixieman
12428
Points
Dixieman 03/08/11 - 11:12 am
0
0
Good argument for voting

Good argument for voting libertarian! Let anyone who wants to do this do this!! Public will benefit from reduced prices due to open competition.

Sweet son
9526
Points
Sweet son 03/08/11 - 02:55 pm
0
0
Wonder who wants to be added?

Wonder who wants to be added? Seems that Total is taking aim at Kendrick. If you stand on Kendrick's property you can almost spit into North Augusta.

Indigo
4
Points
Indigo 03/08/11 - 03:09 pm
0
0
Pretty heated discussion!

Pretty heated discussion!

follower
59
Points
follower 03/08/11 - 07:07 pm
0
0
aggrevated, Brian Tucker

aggrevated, Brian Tucker answered part of your complaint as to preference in towing companies. I'll answer the other part as to the charges.

$75 to $125 dollars to tow a car or attend to an accident is pretty cheap considering you have called into service vehicle that cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $75K, a driver that makes $15-$18 dollars an hour, utilized an answering service or receptionist depending on the time of day or night, as well as the insurance that is far more expensive than a normal State Farm policy.

You have to tow quite a few vehicles to come close to breaking even.

member
67
Points
member 03/08/11 - 07:56 pm
0
0
Is the Total Automotive that

Is the Total Automotive that risks going out of business because of decreased towing revenue the same Total Automotive that does all the work on NA police cars? I know the last wreck I was involved with in NA, I had a wrecker service I wanted, but I sure was pressured to use someone on their list. It is not a slight conflict of interest for them to decide who to use?

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 03/09/11 - 12:28 am
0
0
Remember what Rusty Campbell
Unpublished

Remember what Rusty Campbell says.........Request Ricks! For whatever reason that always makes me laugh.

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