PARKERSBURG - Wood County commissioners denied a request from Captain Hook Towing of Marietta, Ohio, to be included on Wood County's 911 towing call-out list.
"Captain Hook of Marietta, Ohio, provided the required paperwork, and it was presented to the 911 advisory board. By our bylaws, if the paperwork is in order, the board recommends to the county to add them to the list," Randy Lowe, 911 director, told the commissioners. "I have no opinion one way or another."
Several representatives of area towing companies currently on the list appeared at the commission meeting on Monday to object, including Mike Pifer with Pifer's Service Center/Towing and Recovery.
"The pie is getting smaller. There are currently 14 towing companies in Wood County. We all think it's a privilege to be on the 911 list, not a right. All of those here today are Wood County companies. We are licensed here. We all pay personal property and real estate taxes, our employees are paid in the state of West Virginia and we are required to abide by West Virginia Public Service Commission rules. This company (Captain Hook Owing) is not in this county, it's in Marietta, Ohio, and we all feel that it's not right that they should be added to the list," Pifer said.
"Whenever there is a wrecked/disabled vehicle where the people are not present, that is known as a third-party tow, if this company is added to the list, they could transport that vehicle across state lines and then those rules do not apply," Pifer said.
"If you add another towing company to the list, it's taking money out of our pockets and our employees' pockets," said Peggy Kendall, who attended the meeting representing Rocky's Towing and Parkersburg Wrecking Co.
Commission President Wayne Dunn asked if the 911 center had ever received complaints about delays in response from a towing company.
"I have never received any complaints relating to a lack of wrecker services," Lowe said. "I feel we are meeting the needs now in a timely manner."
Pifer noted the PSC also controls rates the companies can charge.
"If this company is added to the list and transports across state lines, that makes those rates null and void," Pifer said. "The pie is only so big."
No one representing Captain Hook Towing attending Monday's meeting.
"They were informed after the advisory board meeting we would be coming before the county commission with this, and the meeting was on the agenda," Lowe said.
"I don't personally see a need for another company to be added to the list, we should probably hold the line and not add anymore," Dunn said.
The vote to deny the Ohio business placement on the 911 towing call-out list was unanimous.