The Town of Plattekill has scheduled a public hearing on the town’s first towing law for 7 p.m. on Dec. 1.
The Town Board heard comments on the draft version of the law at its Nov. 17 meeting from attorney Christopher Coleman, who represents Autos by Joseph, and the towing firm’s owner, Joseph DiBlanca.
The Highland firm is one of four companies that have requested to be on the list to tow vehicles in the town under
the new law.
Coleman lobbied the board to make the fees paid to towing companies for towing disabled vehicles the same as when they respond to accidents or impounded vehicles. Under the town’s proposed fee schedule, companies would be paid $100 less for towing disabled vehicles than for towing vehicles involved in accidents or for impounded vehicles.
“We think those should be similar,” Coleman said.
DiBlanca told the board that the fees should be increased for towing disabled vehicles because there could be more work involved to tow them.
“Generally, an impounded vehicle is for someone who has been arrested and the vehicle is being taken,” he said. “That vehicle would normally run, drive, stop, start. A disabled vehicle may have a broken suspension. It may not run. It’s disabled. It’s causing us to do more work than we would have to do for an impounded vehicle.”
Town Supervisor Joseph Croce said he would refer written comments from Coleman to Town Attorney Paul Kellar prior to the public hearing. He noted that the town had already made some changes to the law after earlier suggestions by Coleman and his client.
“I think we’re pretty close,” Croce said. “Some of these I believe have been brought up before and then discussed with our attorney. It’s our law. I think we have the right to craft the law as we see fit.”
Councilman Dean DePew said he didn’t expect any alterations to the long-discussed towing law at this point.
“In looking at what we’ve proposed and looking at the whole picture, I think we spent a lot of time and I think the (Police) Chief (Joseph Ryan) spent a lot of time and I think we came up with a very good option,” he said.
The Town of Plattekill currently is operating without a towing law and the towing of vehicles has been rotated among two towing companies located in the town.
But Croce said the town needed to craft a new law after two companies from outside of Plattekill requested that they be included in the rotation.
Under the proposed law, the town will limit the rotating list to four companies. All towing businesses must be capable of responding within 25 minutes of being notified of an accident unless there is inclement weather.
Ryan estimated that 50 to 60 vehicles are towed in the town annually.
In other business, the board approved three-year contracts for Ryan and Lt. William Smith. Their annual salaries will not be more than $35,000. Both contracts run from Jan. 1, 2022, through Dec. 31, 2024.
Croce said the board would vote on the new Police Benevolent Association (PBA) contract at its Dec. 15 meeting.
Croce announced the retirement of veteran town detective Robert Riley, effective Dec. 17. Croce said Riley started as a town police officer in 1985. He said he hopes Riley will remain as the town’s DARE officer.
The board voted 3-0 to reappoint Cindy Hilbert to a five-year term on the town’s Board of Assessment Review.