January 29, 2013
WILKES-BARRE -- Two city councilmen said they would like to explore the possibility of having the city take over towing operations should the contract with the current tower be terminated.
Vice Chairman Tony George and Councilman Mike Merritt said much more study is needed to determine the feasibility of such a move, but they believe it's one option that should be considered.
We'd have to put pencil to paper, see how many tows we get in a year and see if it would be worth getting into this business, Merritt said.
City Council last week approved a resolution asking Mayor Tom Leighton to begin the process to terminate the contract of the city's tower, Leo Glodzik III of LAG Towing Inc., based on several alleged contract violations.
George said if the contract is terminated, he'd like to see the city follow the lead of New York City and Philadelphia, both of which operate towing services.
We could hire people, and if they're not towing, they could work in the garage. If they get called out, they go, George said.
George acknowledged there would be a significant upfront cost to buy tow trucks, but he believes the city would at least break even.
He said it's obvious Glodzik, who pays the city $50,050 a year for the exclusive towing contract, is making money.
I don't know why this business is so lucrative that he doesn't want to give the contract up, George said. I don't know if we'd make money, but we won't lose money.
Merritt said one concern is the city does not have a lot where it could store vehicles and would likely face opposition from neighbors.
Nobody wants an impound lot next to their house, he said.
George said there's a lot off Conyngham Avenue he thinks would be suitable.
George said he hasn't studied the idea extensively yet as he does not know if Leighton will follow council's recommendation to terminate Glodzik's contract, which does not expire until May 2015.
Leighton has said the investigation into the allegations is continuing. He will not make any further comment on the probe until it is complete.