Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Peekskill Council Looks to Change Towing Policies

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – The city may allow towing companies outside the city to tow cars from city streets, but only a mile outside the city.

The council is planning on scheduling a public hearing at next Tuesday's meeting that would allow cars to be towed by companies outside the city only if their garage is located within a mile of the city limits.

That distance was originally 3 miles and was intended to avoid possible litigation by tow companies that reside outside the city, since according to city lawyers, there have been cases in Westchester County where tow companies have won suits against towns such as Sleepy Hollow when the village tried to ban outside towing.

However Deputy Mayor Drew Claxton said 3 miles could be too far for some residents. She gave a recent example where several members of the AME Zion Church congregation had their cars towed by a company that was located too far from the church to walk to, making it difficult for them to get their cars back.

"They don't have a car and now they have to figure out how to get to their car," Claxton said. "Three miles outside the city limits if you live on Nelson Avenue on Main Street is not necessarily within walking distance."

Police Chief Eugene Tumolo said that another change will be the creation of two tow company lists by the city: one for mechanically disabled vehicles and another for all other tows, such as cars illegally parked in handicapped or no parking zones.

The tow companies will still have to meet all the requirements of the city and the city will continue to have a rotating tow company list that allows different companies to get business from the city, Tumolo said.

"It provides us with a balanced way of calling for tow trucks when they are needed," Tumolo said of the list. "We know who these people are – they filled out the proper paperwork, which will provide a level of protection for the public."

Towing Companies must have a current New York State repair license, proper liability insurance and must provide a fenced-in secure area to store towed cars, Tumolo said.

In other news, Tumolo informed the council that the police department has received 70 gas masks at no cost from the county as part of a county program. The council also approved Tumolo's request that a yearly grant of $8,500 from the county to combat drunk driving be approved for the next five years as requested by the county to cut down on paperwork.

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