REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

for

TOWING SERVICES

CITY OF HAZLETON, PENNSYLVANIA

RESPONSES DUE:

10:00 AM (Eastern Time)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

To:

Daniel Lynch, City Administrator

City of Hazleton

40 N. Church Street

Hazleton, PA 18201

Disclaimer

This Request for Proposals (RFP) is meant to provide general information and seek proposals from parties interested in being the exclusive tow and impound services provider for the City of Hazleton. The successful responder will be required to execute an Agreement with the City of Hazleton (herein after referred to as “City”) that will govern the rights, duties, and obligations between the City and the applicant. Accordingly, the terms set forth within this RFP do not constitute any contract between the City and the responder(s), and all agreements are pending approval.

Introduction: Scope of Work

The exclusive Tower will be responsible for fulfilling all duties and responsibilities as specified in towing service for the City, including but not limited to, motor vehicle accident tows as requested, removal of illegally parked and abandoned vehicles, vehicles obstructing the City street cleaning program, snow emergency towing, removal of those vehicles declared to be health and safety hazards and declared motor vehicle nuisances as per the Vehicle Code and the Codified Ordinances of the City.

The City of Hazleton Police Department, intends to utilize one tow company for dispatch to the entire city. Once approved, the City will contact the approved exclusive tower to provide the service. The following RFP contains regulations guiding the firm or individual in the comprehensive management of towing and impound services for the City of Hazleton, exclusively; this RFP does not govern any action requested by a customer, or as part of, a third-party service (e.g. Triple A).

Section 1: Standard Requirements and Proposal Instructions.

A firm interested in the exclusive towing contract for the City shall submit as part of its proposal a written application. The application shall be sworn to by the applicant or, in the case of a partnership or corporation, by its authorized agent, before a Notary Public or other person authorized to take oaths and provide the following information:

A. Name, address and telephone number of the applicant firm and its owners/officers. If the applicant is a corporation, the name, residence address, and telephone number of each director, officer, and general manager.

B. Statement that the applicant shall abide by the requirements of Vehicle Code of Pennsylvania (75 PA. C.S.A.), and/or Transportation (74 PA. C.S.A.), the City of Hazleton Code of Ordinances, all specifications enumerated in this document, or other procedures as may be determined and amended with respect to the towing of vehicles and the procedure/s to be followed.

C. Statement that within two (2) weeks of approval, the applicant shall post the required bond and insurance certificates with the Department of Administration. The services of such applicant shall not be used by the City until such bonds and certificates are posted.

D. Statement that the applicant agrees to hold the City of Hazleton, members of the POLICE DEPARTMENT, officials, officers, agents, servants and employees of the City of Hazleton harmless from any and all claims whatever arising by any and all parties including the applicant and applicant’s employees and agents resulting from any and all incidents in connection with the towing of vehicles under the authority of the POLICE DEPARTMENT, the officials, officers, agents servants or employees of the City, resulting from such towing or in connection therewith, to make indemnification for such loss

E. Contractor must be able to provide the number of vehicles processed, types of incidents, and length of impoundment.

F. The Contractor must obtain a City of Hazleton Business License regardless of any other municipal taxes they pay.

G. Towing contractor agrees to provide a statement of their current fee schedule for towing, cleanup and storage including all services rendered and applicable cost to perform.

H. Contractor shall provide the sum they will except from the City for this exclusive contractual right.

I. Contractor must be in the business and capable of providing light, medium and heavy duty towing services and towing and road services.

Section 2: Bonds and Insurance.

 Provide a performance bond with good and sufficient corporate surety by a bonding or insurance company authorized to do business within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the minimum amount of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), the condition of which is that the tower faithfully comply with all provisions of this RFP; contractual obligations as required, and pertinent provisions of Vehicles Laws of Pennsylvania (75 PA. C.S.A.), as may be amended relating to the towing of vehicles.

Continuously maintain minimum insurance as set forth below, and provide the City’s Administrator with certificates of insurance naming the City of Hazleton, its employees, officers and agents as additional insured, evidencing compliance with this section:

A. Workers Compensation insurance as required by statute.

B. Garage Liability insurance in an amount not less than $1,000,000.00 Combined Single Limit (CSL), for each accident including auto liability for any auto, and garage keepers legal liability of 1,000,000/loss covering collision and comprehensive, which will include damage incurred from towing, the perils of fire and explosion, theft of an entire vehicle or any part thereof, riot, civil commotion, vandalism, and not less than $100,000 per occurrence for malicious mischief.

C. Any sub-contractors used by the towing contractor are required to maintain the same insurance requirements as the towing contractors with respect to hold harmless agreements, certificates of insurance, and naming the City as additional insured.

D. In addition, prior to commencing to serve as the authorized towing contractor and prior to each annual renewal date, the authorized towing contractor shall submit to the City Administrator and Police Department, a notarized and witnessed Hold Harmless Agreement holding the City of Hazleton, its employees, officers and agents harmless. The Hold Harmless Agreement shall be on a form provided to the applicant by the City.

E. Annual Renewals – Certificates of Insurance and Hold Harmless Agreement, as required by this section, shall be submitted to the City Administrator prior to the renewal date. Approved towers shall notify the City Administrator and Police Department, immediately, in writing, if a policy is cancelled. The towing contractor shall make written notification to the City Administrator and Police Department of any changes in insurance coverage at least ten (10) days prior to the change.

 Section 3: Information, Terms and Conditions.

The Chief of Police, or his designee, shall utilize the approved Towing service operator that meets the qualifications, including being a licensed salvor for abandoned vehicles.

A. The towing service shall comply with all provisions of this agreement and Code of Ordinances of the City of Hazleton.

B. The Police Department may utilize another towing service if the operator, in the judgment of the Department, is incapable of or not properly equipped for handling a specific task requiring special skills or equipment to handle the call, or if they are unable to respond at the time of the call, the Department may contact another qualified tower capable of handling the request. A deviation from the normal operator shall not affect this agreement.

C. In the event the Chief of Police, or their designee, determines that there is an emergency, the provisions herein shall not apply and the POLICE DEPARTMENT may obtain towing service from any source deemed appropriate.

D. The Contract period is for three years, with the City having the option to renew for two (2) additional one-year periods under the same terms and conditions as stated herein.

E. The Contractor agrees to charge reasonable and statutory permissible rates for tows, clean up, and storage, and to comply with the terms of the Hazleton City towing ordinances.

F. It shall be specifically understood and agreed that the resulting contract shall in no way be construed as creating an employer-employee relationship between the City and the Contractor or between the City and those employed by the Contractor. Contractor on behalf of himself, and any of his employees, waives any claims that may arise because of any alleged employer-employee relationship, including but not limited to such matters as pension rights, social security rights, insurance rights, etc.

G. Employees and/or agents of the authorized towing contractor, however, are acting on behalf of the City of Hazleton when performing duties as may be requested by the City under the auspices of the City of Hazleton Code of Ordinances, and these specifications. Therefore, it is imperative that all authorized towing contractors, their employees and/or agents be courteous and professional in their dealings with members of the public or employees of the City of Hazleton.

H. Towing contractor agrees to provide the customer a credit and cash option to pay any and all amounts owed the company.

I. The Contractor must warrant that all owners and employees of their business have passed a criminal background check to perform work under this contract. The background checks must demonstrate the owner/worker has no criminal convictions or pending criminal charges (either misdemeanor or felony), or any offenses that would render the owner/worker unsuitable for regular contact with children.  The Contractor must also warrant that any subcontractor utilized by Contractor, including its owners and employees, have passed a criminal background check demonstrating the owner/worker has no criminal convictions or pending criminal charges (either misdemeanor or felony), or any offenses that would render the owner/worker of the subcontractor unsuitable for regular contact with children. 

Section 4: Towing Operation and Requirements.

In the interest of expedient and efficient service to the City and POLICE DEPARTMENT and for the protection of the public at large, in order to be approved as an authorized Towing Contractor by Council, a vehicle-towing contractor, as representative for the City, shall at all times remain professional, demonstrate exemplary level of customer service, under threat of discipline, and meet or exceed the following minimum standards:

A. Have, within the city limits, a principal place of business and storage area meeting the following specifications:

i. Secured by a seven foot (7’) high (maximum) chain link fence, bottom anchored; barbed wire may be utilized. All towed vehicles shall be parked/stored within the enclosed storage area and not on the streets, alleys, highways, parks, etc., of the City of Hazleton.

ii. The storage area must be staffed from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M., Monday through Friday, seven days a week excluding legal holidays.

iii. The storage area shall be of a sufficient size to store all vehicles towed within the fenced enclosure of the facility and not within or upon public access, highway, streets, alley, park, etc., with sufficient room to additionally permit ingress and egress of stored vehicles. Tower must be able to provide secure indoor storage for up to three (3) cars at such location when requested by the Police Department.

iv. Storage facility shall be located at the towing contractor’s principal place of business for security and control purposes while cars are in the towing contractor/s possession.

v. The storage facility must be solely located within the jurisdiction of Magisterial District Court 11-1-03 and solely within the City of Hazleton.

vi. All vehicles being stored must be stored in one location within the city limits.

vii. Contractor must be able to provide both indoor and outdoor storage options. 

B. Exceptions to the foregoing requirements may be considered by the City administration upon written statement of the towing contractor showing special circumstances.

C. Maintain sufficient vehicle towing equipment, fleet and ability, considered to include:

i. Equipment that is capable of towing commercial motor vehicles and combinations of motor vehicles registered to carry up to and including a maximum gross weight of 58,400 pounds.

ii. A fleet size not less than two (2) vehicles, one of which must have at least a two-ton lift and towing capacity, equipped with dolly wheels and be wheel lift capable. The operator may subcontract a qualified towing operator that meets the requirements listed herein that possesses a roll-back type truck. All towing vehicles shall be equipped with two- radios for communications purposes, flares, and tools necessary to render temporary and emergency service by trained personnel.

D. The City of Hazleton reserves the right to amend this specification to further detail, by regulation, appropriate towing equipment requirements based upon currently acceptable industry standards and on advice of organizations knowledgeable in the field. Any such changes would be applicable to the calendar year following promulgation of any such regulation(s).

E. Towing contractor shall have the ability to tow vehicles that have a maximum weight as allowed by Vehicle Laws of Pennsylvania (75 PA.C.S.A., as amended), or if not available, a contractual obligation with another towing contractor that has equipment available to perform Heavy Duty Towing for towing large trucks, road tractors and trailers, etc. (A written copy of the contractual obligation with another authorized City towing contractor, or other towing contractor, for heavy duty towing shall be provided to the City.)

 F. Available to provide twenty-four (24) hour towing service seven (7) days a week, year round.

G. Towing contractor agrees to assume responsibility for any articles of personal property left in the vehicle and listed on the towing invoice. Contractor shall hold all personal property until either the release of the vehicle or the property has been returned to the owner. Contractor agrees to allow the vehicle’s owner to retrieve personal property without the necessity of releasing the vehicle. The contractor agrees to carry the proper insurance and to replace any such article upon verification of the loss.

H. Have a current phone listing in the business section of the telephone directory for the Hazleton area under the appropriate designation, e.g. “Towing”. Authorized towing contractors may provide no more than one (1) alternate telephone number. “Call waiting” and “call-forwarding” are recommended; pagers and beepers do not satisfy the requirements of this rule.

I. The contractor will not charge any storage fees for vehicles towed that are owned by victims of a crime. All vehicles that are being stored under a police hold as evidence are subject to a flat $50.00 dollar fee, which the Police Department will submit to the District Attorney’s office as part of a requested restitution award.  If restitution is not granted by the Court, contractor agrees to waive any storage fee for vehicles held as evidence.

J. The contractor will not charge any towing or storage fees for city owned vehicles towed within the city limits.

K. If the city procures its own storage facility/impound area, the contractor will utilize the city owned facility for any police related holds or at the direction of the city.

Section 5: Required Towing Procedures and Performance.

The Chief of Police of the City of Hazleton, with the approval of the Mayor of the City of Hazleton, shall have the right to promulgate rules and regulations governing the activities covered by this RFP; as such the contractor shall be responsible for the foregoing:

A. The appearance of the authorized towing contractor’s towing equipment will be in accordance with the requirements of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, and in addition all tow trucks will be professional in appearance, free from any signs, drawings, stickers, or appliqués not related to the commercial towing business.

B. All tow trucks shall display the towing contractor’s name, address and business phone number and such other information that may be required by state law. Such information shall be of contrasting color to the truck color and shall be painted or otherwise permanently affixed to both sides of the tow truck. All lettering shall comply with state law and shall be at least three (3”) inches high. Magnetic signs will not be permitted.

C. The responding tow truck(s) must display the name of the authorized towing contractor as contacted by the dispatcher. Authorized tow contractors shall not refer a call to another authorized towing contractor, or substitute another authorized towing contractor’s tow truck except with the permission of the City.

D. Tow truck shall arrive at the requested location within twenty (20) minutes of receiving the dispatch. If contractor fails, or refuses, to answer a call, or fails to arrive at the requested location within twenty (20) minutes, at the discretion of the requesting officer, will be assessed a fee in the amount of $150.00 plus the costs of any fees charged in connection with calling in an alternate company.

E. If more than one (1) call is missed or refused within any one (1) month period, an investigation will be made and a notice of breach of contract may be issued.

F. Emergency flashing lights, type and color as may be specified by Vehicle Laws of Pennsylvania (75 PA.C.S.A.) and/or Transportation (74 PA. C.S.A.), for authorized vehicles shall be in operation from arrival at the request for service location until the towed vehicle is removed from the tow truck at the storage facility of the authorized towing contractor, or other location to which the vehicle may be towed.

G. When towing a vehicle from the scene of an accident, clean, remove, and dispose of all dirt, debris, spilled and leaking vehicle fluids such as gasoline, oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, etc., with the exception of cargo. These actions shall be done in accordance with local, state, and federal regulations.

H. Authorized towing contractors shall transport a vehicle to any location requested by the owner/operator of a vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident after financial arrangements have been finalized.

I. Immediately execute, in triplicate, from a consecutively numbered receipt book, a receipt setting forth the date & time the vehicle was towed and the license plate number of the towed vehicle, the name of the towing contractor, the location from which the vehicle was towed, and the person to be contacted by owner or other authorized person for securing the possession of the vehicle, and the charges due which shall not exceed the maximums hereinafter set forth. One copy of this receipt shall be given to the owner of the vehicle, one copy of this receipt to the Police Department, and the third copy of the receipt shall be retained by the Towing Contractor.

J. Hold orders (impoundment) placed by the City on vehicles stored for any reason shall be honored by the authorized towing contractor. Prior to the release of a vehicle with a hold order (impoundment), authorization for the release shall be given by the investigating officer or detective, or higher authority upon review of reports related to the hold order (impoundment).

K. The Chief of Police, or their designee, reserves the right to determine on a case by case basis if a Hold Order relative to a criminal investigation shall be assessed the cost of a standard-day tow, less storage fees, irrespective of duration.

L. When no hold order is placed, or when a hold order expires, the vehicle may be released to the owner after the tower is presented with a release form pursuant to Hazleton City Ordinance 2017-2.

M. When a vehicle has been towed due to a motor vehicle accident and not claimed within forty-eight (48) hours, the authorized Towing Contractor shall notify the Police Department on the next working day, by telephone. The POLICE DEPARTMENT will verify who the owner is so the tow company can notify the owner to claim the vehicle.

N. Towers shall safely, carefully, and expeditiously complete all facets of the towing service. The authorized towing contractor is prohibited from “chasing” or showing up at accident scenes without being called by police for the purpose of soliciting business from the operators of vehicle(s) involved.

Section 6: Additional Procedures.

The Towing Contractor at all times shall observe and comply with all federal, state and city laws and ordinances affecting the conduct of the work, or applying to employees on the project.

A. The Chief of Police of the City of Hazleton, or their designee, shall have the right to determine what constitutes an abandoned vehicle as authorized by the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code.

B. The authorized tower will process as abandoned vehicles retrieved in accordance with state governance.

C. Any false claims made by the tow contractor to a City official, or customer concerning the abandonment process, or forfeiture of the vehicle in lieu of payment will be investigated and potentially, cause for termination of the contract.

D. Towing contractor/s shall immediately notify the Hazleton Police Department on duty Sergeant, or other point of contact as may be stated, with complete information on the vehicle towed for logging the towed vehicle.

E. Towing contractor shall be required to maintain a towed vehicle log, upon which they shall record a sequential listing of vehicles towed.

F. The Lieutenant assigned to traffic and/or patrol, or their designee, will be the contact person for all communications, verbal or written, from authorized towing contractor.

G. The Towing Contractor agrees to permit members of the POLICE DEPARTMENT, or authorized City personnel to inspect their facilities, equipment, stored vehicles, personal property and financial records, relative to this award whenever in the opinion of the Chief of Police, or their designee, determines such inspection is necessary. The inspection and any related audit will be at the City’s expense.

Section 7: Towing and Storage Charges

The towing contractor will provide a list of their charges in connection with services rendered pursuant to this Agreement.

The Towing Service Fee Schedule as established by the tow contractor is not subject to change without consent of the Mayor of the City of Hazleton.

Section 8: Prohibited Actions and Penalties.

Contractor agrees to the following:

A. Upon receipt of a complaint concerning a possible contractor violation, the POLICE DEPARTMENT shall conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations. On the completion of the investigation, the Chief of Police, or their designee, shall render a determination, in writing, and either impose a prescribed penalty, or in the case of potential termination/breach of contract, submit the recommendation to the Mayor for immediate review. The Mayor may uphold the recommendation, or impose any other such action as he/she may deem applicable. The Contractor agrees that the Mayor’s decision shall be final and not subject to review or appeal.

B. The Tower agrees that beyond a second violation, or upon a single material violation of this Contract, the Chief of Police may recommend that in addition to the stated penalty, immediate termination proceedings take place of the Tower’s contractual rights for a single violation, habitual non-compliance and/or multiple violations of the same, or combination of the same.

Failure of the approved tower to continue to comply with the provisions of the City of Hazleton Code of Ordinances, and these specifications, regulations promulgated under the authority of same, pertinent provisions of the Vehicle Code (75 PA. C.S.A.), and/or Transportation (76 PA. C.S.A.), relating to towing shall be grounds for the Mayor to terminate the contract.

Section 9: Award Criteria.

 In considering the award of the contract; the City will consider such factors as:

The ability to provide the required facilities and necessary equipment without exception;

The demonstrated service capability;

The Contractor’s financial position;

The Contractor’s total years of operation;

The Contractor’s relevant certification(s) and experience,

The Contractor’s comparable contracts with other municipalities; and The Contractor’s adherence to the proposal process and specifications

Towing must be a substantial portion of the Contractor’s overall business to assure reliability and responsibility to adhere to this work scope. Contractor must be a licensed towing company.

The Downtown Hazleton Overlay District

downtown-hazleton-overlay-district-illustrated-guidelines.jpgHistorically, Downtown Hazleton was a compact commercial district with bustling shops, restaurants, and a variety of other business establishments that served the surrounding region. Many of the downtown’s buildings, which were built in early 20th-century, were designed for retail use to appeal to shoppers who walked the city’s streets, including inviting entrances, window displays, and signage that drew pedestrians off the city’s street and into the building interiors.

Due to changing economic conditions, many of the core downtown’s buildings no longer serve their intended retail purpose and have been vacated or adapted for office space or other institutional uses that no longer need to be as inviting to the pedestrian, particularly along Broad Street. Others suffer from years of deferred maintenance, while others have been demolished. This has left the commercial core with many empty buildings in need of adaptive reuse and renovation, and vacant lots that deter pedestrian activity within the downtown and discourage investment. A lack of standards and guidelines has also resulted in lack of a unified streetscape, with many types of awnings, signs, and materials applied to building facades.

Read more: Downtown Overlay District Review

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