Controversial wrecker rotation ordinance passes - - Jackson, MS

Controversial wrecker rotation ordinance passes

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By David Kenney - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - If you let the Jackson Police Department call a wrecker for you, it will now cost $10 more to have your car towed in the capital city.

Tuesday council members passed a new ordinance that increases the rates.

Several wrecker companies say they aren't pleased with the law, and weren't looking just for more money.

The wrecker rotation ordinance passed with a four to three vote, and a heated debate.

Many of the towing companies present, upset with the new rules, even though they can charge more.  

Trey Ward of Wards Wrecker Service said, "Why are towing companies going to be jumping on this to all of a sudden get this business from the city when they're going to be making less money than they do from their normal customers."

The new ordinance increases the tow rates from $65 to $75.

Bigger trucks and 18-wheelers $185.

Several towing companies said they were left out of negotiating the language in the ordinance.

"They're asking to regulate wreckers medium duty wreckers as well as small wreckers, I'm sorry you see an 18-wheeler rolled over they automatically said in there we get to charge $185 there is no per hour, per truck no per man, no per nothing," said Ward.

Council members were split on the issue.

Jeff Weill of Ward 1 said, "I didn't think they were letting the market determine the price the council was up here trying to determine the fair market value of the towing contract."

The new ordinance goes into effect in 24 hours. Some wrecker companies say the new regulations will limit those who have trucks big enough to participate.

The new rules say anyone in the rotation must be able to tow 15-thousand pound trucks.

City leaders say this debate isn't over. They expect to amend the ordinance with more input from the wrecker companies in the coming weeks.

Council members also approved a bond renewal program to help the financially strapped city budget.

It would create a boost of over $5 million for an expected revenue shortfall in the coming year, but would also create a debt of about the same size in the year 2024. 

Councilman Weill was the most opposed to this plan, saying it was 'like using a credit card to pay a light bill.'

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