During the April 13 Commissioners Court meeting, Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack said the creation of the board was recommended by towing companies across the county. The board was unanimously approved by the court and will include two towing companies from each of the county’s four designated districts.An ordinance came into effect Jan. 1 to establish a rotation among towing services with the county for nonconsensual towing, which occurs when vehicles are left unattended in unauthorized areas. According to the ordinance, the previous system resulted in too many trucks congregating at incident scenes.
During a special session Feb. 12, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Tim Holifield said zones were drawn into north, east, south and west divisions to match with patrol areas. He said if a deputy called for a tow, a company would be pulled from the rotation for faster service.
The way the zones are established will now result in 15 companies being in rotation for each of the zones with the exception of the north zone, which will have 12 companies on call. The new zones replace the old system, which had 24 zones.
During a March 23 Commissioners Court meeting, the commissioners voted 4-1 to keep the new towing ordinance in effect with Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley voting against it.
Riley voiced concerns about the fairness of the new system after hearing concerns from various companies in his precinct.
“I’m concerned about the companies that are not getting as many tows as they think they should,” Riley said. “I am concerned about the companies that set up their storage lots as close to the 24 lots we had ... when we went to the four zones, some of these folks are just over the line and cannot get into the zone.”
Riley also cited complaints he had heard in regard to confusion about the rotation and safety concerns.
Noack said the process can be refined moving forward.
Among those appointed to the towing advisory board, Amy Milstead, president of Milstead Towing said she favors the rotation system.“The reason you voted for this last year was because of the reckless driving from the tow truck drivers, multiple trucks on the side of the road at accident scenes and most importantly public safety, law enforcement safety and traffic control,” Milstead said.
During the meeting, Milstead said changes being implemented are being noticed by drivers in the southern district of the county.
“Three months ago, there was nobody in the towing business that was happy,” Milstead said. “We are making progress.”
Rebecca Bailey, a representative of A Plus Towing in The Woodlands, said the new rotation has been beneficial in the southern zone.
“The tow companies in the south zone are working well with each other and the new rotation,” Bailey said.As of the commissioners’ April 27 meeting, all appointments to the advisory board had been approved.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has declined to comment on changes to the towing system.