Monday, 6 February 2012

Midwest Towing appeals bid specifications for city tow contract

The fight over the city's towing contract enters a new phase with an official appeal of the bid specifications.

The appeal by Midwest Towing, a competitor for the contract, says the specs used to determine who will get the next four-year city contract are unfair to citizens and favor the company that has held the contract for the past 16 years.

Citizens are hurt financially by a requirement that the company with the contract tow and store city-owned vehicles at no charge, according to the appeal notice. As a result, it says, the towing company must charge citizens more.

The company with the contract tows and stores vehicles illegally parked on city streets.

The city's five-member Procurement Appeals Board will meet at 9 a.m. Feb. 14 to consider the appeal, said Vince Mejer, city purchasing agent.

The board usually handles a couple of appeals a year, and they generally question the decisions to award a contract, Mejer said.

It's unusual for an appeal to deal with the bid specifications themselves, Mejer said.

This appeal stopped the bid process before bids were submitted, he said.

It was the second bid process in recent months for the towing contract.

In early October, the City Council rejected the low bid from Capital Towing, which has handled city towing for 16 years, after it heard complaints about that bidding process from competitors.

The four-year contract allows for an automatic four-year extension, meaning the winner likely will have the city's towing business for eight years.

This appeal lists several bid specifications that Midwest Towing believes favor Capital Towing. They include:
  • Requiring a specific number and combination of towing vehicles similar to the fleet of the current contract holder.
  • Requiring a computerized system for collecting parking ticket fees without any information on what type of computer system would suffice.
  • Providing no information on owner-requested tows, important to companies determining the appropriate bid price. The company with the current contract has that information, but competitors do not.

1 comment:

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