By Samantha Smith
Changes to a Kyle city ordinance last March on regulating wrecker services has led the owner of a local company to speak out in protest.
Norma Cisneros, who is the owner of Pete’s Towing Company in Kyle, says the changes, approved by the Kyle City Council in March 2015, have been difficult for her business.
“The city manager and city (council) have failed us as citizens they do not care [sic],” Cisneros said.
It’s been almost a year since the city of Kyle passed an updated city ordinance regulating wrecker services.
The updated ordinance, approved in March 2015, was deliberated for two years before the council approved it.
The update requires all wrecker services interested in participating in the Kyle Police Department’s wrecker rotation to comply with certain standards.
Companies must submit an annual application with a fee of $250 to the police department to be considered for rotation. They must also submit their vehicles to police inspection, adhere to the current fee guidelines set by the ordinance, and have a physical vehicle storage facility within five or ten miles of city limits.
Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett said the benefits of the new ordinance include regulating a pricing scale for the public, as well as the efficiency of cleanup of accident scenes. Barnett said complaints in the past from citizens stemmed from inadequate scene cleanup.
Additional regulations include accurate contact information clearly displayed on each vehicle in rotation.
“I think we are getting a good quality product from the responding companies,” says Barnett.
But one local business claims the changes have negatively impacted its future in the city of Kyle.
Cisneros held concerns of the explosion of “outside businesses now included in the rotation.
“I know we are growing, but I really don’t think we need more than three police wrecker rotations in the city of Kyle,” Cisneros said.
Cisneros claims that the reduction in rotation calls, in addition to the fees that the company already pays to the state, has made it almost impossible to keep the business going.
“We have to pay our bills just like everybody else so by them letting these other companies come in and take our business, it’s putting me out of business,” Cisneros said.
While city ordinances can be revised in response to citizen concerns, Chief Barnett said the wrecker business is a “competitive business all across Texas.”
“Everyone certainly wants to increase their share of the business and many of them have their own ideas on how to do that,” Barnett said.
Chief Barnett also said other companies argue the new ordinance now allows them to be Kyle businesses.
“Because our ordinance now requires all regular wrecker companies to have a physical presence in the city limits of Kyle, they now consider themselves Kyle businesses too and don’t want existing Kyle businesses trying to say that they are not local so they should not be on the wrecker rotation,” Barnett said.