The appearance of impropriety was a reason for the policy change.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
LIBERTY -- The township has changed its vehicle towing policy, eliminating three designated companies that were used exclusively.
"I never felt that they should have designated companies," said Darlene St. George, township administrator.
The policy was changed this week and eliminated Miller's Towing and Sorice Towing, both of Liberty, and Steve's Towing and Auto Body in Girard, as exclusive towers.
St. George said the county prosecutor's office agreed with her that designating towing companies may be viewed as being improper if other businesses meet all the criteria. All companies that meet the requirements are eligible to be called to tow.
Eligibility restricted: The new policy does restrict eligibility. It requires tow trucks to respond within eight minutes during normal business hours and 15 minutes late at night or holidays.
The old policy required all responses within 15 minutes.
Companies are still required to have an impound area within the township.
Steve Collins, owner of Steve's, said companies wanting to become eligible will have difficulty finding an impound area.
Collins, who has been towing in Liberty for about a year, said it took him two years to find an area that is zoned commercial to impound vehicles.
Although Collins said he has had no problems with the requirements, he does believe they are strict.
Avoiding junkyards: The township restricted the number of towing companies that did business with the township, he explained, because the township didn't want a number of impound areas that can turn into junkyards.
Despite the new requirements, Collins said, he doesn't believe it will hurt his business. He tows in other communities as well.
Patty Sorice, who works at Sorice's, which is owned by her son, said Sorice's doesn't do much towing for the township police. She said she hopes the change will increase business.