Columbus City Council is scheduled to vote tonight to modify what has become a controversial contract for towing services. Jim Letizia reports.
The city hires a towing company to handle the 24 thousands vehicles that are towed each year to the police impound lot. But a six month legal fight between three area towing companies and the city over its five year contract was settled in April when Columbus Towing and Storage of Orient agreed alleging the city incorrectly awarded the contract to Pro-Tow Incorporated of Columbus. Those companies agreed to share the contract at a cost of 2.3 million dollars a year, a quarter million lower than they each originally bid. The battle began in October when the city revoked the contract with Metropolitan Towing and Storage of Columbus, after it was discovered there was a tie between the company’s owner and another company that made a bid. The city says a second bidding process was stopped after companies had to resubmit bids because of issues with language in the city’s bid packet. Three companies bid again, with Columbus Towing submitting the lowest, Pro-Tow the second lowest, and Metropolitan Towing the third lowest. The city gave Pro-Tow a 20-thousand dollar environmental credit because of its use of environmentally friendly trucks and fuels, making that company the winning bidder. Columbus Towing then sued. Tonight's legislation modifies and extends the city's 150 thousand dollar contract with Metropolitan Towing, providing funding for the contract until the end of the month. The text of the legislation says the modification and increase in funding is needed until the current bid can be resolved in the courts.
Editor's note: Council voted to approve the legislation at it's May 6th meeting.