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      Fairness in Towing

      Moreno Valley tow truck operators could get rotation system

      By LAURIE LUCAS
      The Press-Enterprise

      Tow truck drivers in Moreno Valley may finally get an official rotation system.

      Under the proposed city-wide fee schedule for fiscal year 2010-11, tow truck operators would pay an application fee of $2,828 for a five-year contract and post a $5,000 deposit to cover administrative costs. Owners of towed cars would have to pay $74 to recover their vehicles.

      The City Council is expected to vote on the fee schedule tonight after a public hearing , which starts at 6:30 p.m. State law requires that municipalities can only charge fees to recover costs, not to make profits.

      Moreno Valley has an ordinance that’s languished on the books for more than a decade involving towing service rotation, said Rick Hartmann, the interim assistant city manager.

      Most California cities and counties have a rotation set up with area operators so that business is spread out equally.

      Hartmann said that currently six tow truck operators serve Moreno Valley. “They’ve requested a formalized, comprehensive program,” he said.

      Another suggested change before the council is raising the CPR and First Aid class fees in the Fire Department from $30 to $65 per student so that the program will become self-sufficient. .

      In other business, the board will discuss four funding alternatives to help build $6.3 million worth of Eucalyptus Avenue street improvements between Redlands Boulevard and Theodore Avenue. When completed, this segment will include three full travel lanes, sidewalks, bus turnouts, emergency access and extensive landscaping.

      This important arterial highway is near the future site of Highland Fairview Corporate Park, with Skechers USA Inc. as the main tenant. Skechers signed an 11-year, $100 million lease for a 1.8 million-square-foot building.

      “The conditions of approval don’t say the developer has to fund the improvements,” Hartmann said. “The conditions say the developer has to build them.”

      He said the city has come up with proposals for the developer, Highland Fairview, to borrow money from different sources. “This is not considered a violation of the conditions of approval,” he said.

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