Following The City Paper’s report last week on a plan to outsource Metro’s vehicle impound lot, a privately owned Nashville wrecker service is beginning to raise questions about the proposal.
“If it hadn’t been for your paper, we never would have known about it,” said Robert Dunn, whose brother owns A.B. Collier Wrecker Service, which has operated in Nashville since 1929. “No wrecker service was notified.”
In a letter sent Monday to Metro Council members, representatives of A.B. Wrecker Service outlined four “concerns” in bullet-point form. Questions come as a proposal to turn operations of the city’s impound lot on Freightliner Drive to Moneka, Ill.-based United Road Towing heads before the council on the first of three votes Tuesday.
Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling has said Metro’s impound lot –– which stores all police-confiscated and impounded vehicles –– has accumulated a $2.9 million deficit  over the last eight-plus years. He said privatizing would help “cut into” that figure. The plan would be to transfer the impound lot’s 20 civilian workers to existing positions within the civilian area of the Metro Police Department, which currently oversees the lot.
“It’s a fiscal decision,” Riebeling said of the move. “It’s an economic decision.”
If the council were to approve the move, Riebeling told The City Paper United Road Towing would deliver the city a $500,000 up-front payment. Moving forward, he said the company would pay Metro $100,000 each year for the life of the contract.
A.B. Collier Wrecker Service, which operates on Merritt Avenue, has asked the council to further analyze the following: how the city’s impound lot accumulated a $2.9 million deficit; the cost savings of transferring the impound lot’s employees; the selection of United Road Towing, which already operates the West Nashville Wrecker Service on Centennial Boulevard; and Metro’s bidding process to select United Road Towing.
In a brief interview with The City Paper, Dunn said he’s also worried all wrecked vehicles –– not just those confiscated by police –– would be directed to the privatized city impound lot if the plan were to pass. Currently, different wrecker services occupy various geographic zones for business.
“If they get it in, we’re afraid it’s going to force a lot of us that rely on our zone out of business,” Dunn said.
But Riebeling, in an email, said the city’s existing towing policy wouldn’t change with the plan.