By Ted AYALA
At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, the Present family – a local family that has run Crescenta Valley Towing Company (CVTC) for nearly half a century – sat in the council chamber waiting to speak to the council regarding the city’s towing contract. The expression on the members of the Present family’s faces as they patiently waited for their turn to speak was loaded with strain and worry.
As one of three independent tow companies licensed by the city, the CVTC has provided towing services to the city for the past five years. The city of Glendale divided the city into three districts that would each be the domain of a particular tow company. Between the three companies, the city proposed a contract that would split the towing responsibilities along a 40/40/20 percentage. In charge of Glendale’s northern district (the largest of the three districts) is CVTC. Despite its district’s size, the CVTC was offered the smallest share in the split. Nevertheless, the chance to provide towing services was irresistible to the owners of CVTC.
“In order to be a city police towing company, we had to meet certain requirements,” said Sam Present, co-owner of CVTC. The required improvements demanded by the city were massive, entailing modifications to the CVTC’s towing fleet and storage property. All told, the cost of the improvements totaled approximately $250,000.
Though expensive, the owners of CVTC were estimating that the extra 10% in tows would pay for the costs of the improvements. Susan Present of CVTC commented, “We were relying on the city to double the tows as promised. [But] to date, we have not yet received 20% of the tows.”
As she declared from the podium, “The effect of all of this is to harm a long-lived [local] business and our livelihood. […] We’ve had to lay-off [employees].”
Not only has CVTC not enjoyed the 20% of the tows the city promised, it also has to contend with the fact that one of the other towing agencies has surpassed its share, enjoying a share of 49% – 10% that could have potentially gone to the local business.
“We’re receiving 10%; another company is getting 49%? It seems a balance needs to occur,” Sam pointed out to the assembled councilmembers.
Capt. Carl Povilaitis, the city’s liaison for the towing companies, offered a handful of options the council could consider. One allowed for redrawing the district lines so CVTC could better pick up its missing 10%. Councilman Dave Weaver seized on that option and modified it, calling for the city to explore this option for another six months before deciding on the matter. The city council agreed unanimously and the matter will be addressed again before July pending further study from the city.
After the meeting, Sam said, “All we’re looking for is to fairly redistribute the city’s towing. We want to show the city that we can handle an expanded district. We already assist the CHP along the 134 and 5 freeways. The city should redraw the boundaries along there.”
Jacci Present, another co-owner, said she was “happy that the city will look into the matter – but this should have been done sooner. All they need to do is move the boundaries south.”
Sheldon Baker, attorney for the towing firm, may have put it most succinctly.
“We simply want [the contract] to be fair.”