Spring­dale Po­lice pick wrecker ser­vice

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - HICHAM RAACHE Hicham Raache can be reached by email at hraache@nwadg.com or Twit­ter @NWA Hicham.

SPRING­DALE — The Po­lice De­part­ment has se­lected a wrecker ser­vice to ex­clu­sively con­tract with.

The City Coun­cil Com­mit­tee rec­om­mended Mon­day the coun­cil ap­prove next week a res­o­lu­tion that will en­able the Spring­dale Po­lice De­part­ment to en­ter into a con­tract with NWA Tow­ing.

The Po­lice De­part­ment had formed a com­mit­tee to re­search con­tract­ing with a sin­gle wrecker com­pany to han­dle all non-con­sent ve­hi­cle tows for the Po­lice De­part­ment.

The de­part­ment re­ceived pro­pos­als from 14 lo­cal wrecker com­pa­nies. The com­mit­tee chose four to do an in-per­son pre­sen­ta­tion. The four con­tenders were fur­ther nar­rowed down to two fi­nal­ists, and the state’s tow­ing board con­ducted on­site in­spec­tions of the two com­pa­nies. The com­mit­tee se­lected NWA Tow­ing and Re­cov­ery of Fayet­teville with a 3-1 vote, Po­lice Chief Mike Peters said in a let­ter to Mayor Doug Sprouse.

Al­der­man Jim Reed asked Peters why a Spring­dale com­pany wasn’t cho­sen. Peters said NWA Tow­ing and Re­cov­ery will be open­ing a lo­ca­tion in Spring­dale.

Al­der­man Mike Overton, who was on the wrecker com­mit­tee, said he was the dis­sent­ing vote against NWA Tow­ing. He said one of the rea­sons he voted against NWA Tow­ing is be­cause that com­pany also has the city con­tract with Fayet­teville and he doesn’t think they should have a monopoly on city con­tracts.

Capt. Derek Hud­son, who spoke to the coun­cil com­mit­tee along­side Peters, said NWA Tow­ing has been on the wreck­ing ser­vice ro­ta­tion his de­part­ment has been us­ing.

“NWA Tow­ing is one of the larger com­pa­nies in the area. They have the abil­ity and cap­i­tal to ex­pand that busi­ness in what I feel is a rea­son­able man­ner,” Hud­son said.

Hud­son said he wants to give NWA Tow­ing a rea­son­able amount of time, prefer­ably within six months, to open a Spring­dale lo­ca­tion.

Hud­son said the con­tract is for five years, but it al­lows for the Po­lice De­part­ment to re-eval­u­ate and rene­go­ti­ate ev­ery year.

“Ei­ther party can ter­mi­nate the con­tract at any point if they so choose with a 60day no­tice,” Hud­son said.

The de­part­ment held a pub­lic hear­ing on the is­sue in April. Many wreck­ing ser­vice own­ers crit­i­cized the sin­gle wrecker con­tract idea, say­ing it will hurt their busi­ness. How­ever, Peters said his de­part­ment needed a sys­tem that would be more man­age­able as well as cost-ef­fec­tive for res­i­dents.

The Po­lice De­part­ment has been ro­tat­ing 19 wrecker com­pa­nies for non-con­sent tow­ing, in­clud­ing ac­ci­dents, stalled ve­hi­cles and ve­hi­cle seizures.

“The 19 ser­vices all have their own fees, dif­fer­ent charges, so if you have a two-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent and we have two wrecker com­pa­nies come, then charges can be quite dif­fer­ent, one can be a lot higher than the other,” Peters said in April. “So that’s not re­ally fair to the pub­lic to have that dis­crep­ancy in cost.”

The com­mit­tee also rec­om­mended a Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion grant be ap­proved. The grant will pro­vide $207,450 to the Spring­dale Mu­nic­i­pal Air­port, ac­cord­ing to the grant res­o­lu­tion in­side the com­mit­tee’s agenda packet.

The money will be used for air­port run­way re­ju­ve­na­tion de­sign work, not con­struc­tion.

“The Spring­dale Mu­nic­i­pal Air­port Com­mis­sion has de­ter­mined there is a need to re­ha­bil­i­tate the run­way and re­con­struct the run­way light­ing,” the res­o­lu­tion states.

The cur­rent run­way light­ing works fine, but will be re­placed with LED lights, which last longer and are less ex­pen­sive to op­er­ate, said Neil John­son, com­mis­sion chair­man.

The grant will pay for 90 per­cent of the de­sign project. The com­mis­sion plans to ap­ply for a grant from the State of Arkansas De­part­ment of Aero­nau­tics to pay for the re­main­ing 10 per­cent, the res­o­lu­tion states.

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