Monday, September 24 @ 10am. 18 owners of Detroit-based Towing Companies in the DATA association who were declined a five minute presentation will speak at public comment at the Detroit City Council Public Health & Safety Committee Meeting, Room 1340 – City County Building..
The Detroit Authorized Towing Association (DATA) is an organization of Detroit-based, family-owned, and police authorized towing companies that have worked with both Detroit police and its citizens for a combined 517 years, keeping order on the streets, avenues, highways and byways of Detroit. As an association of small businesses with staffs exceeding 189 individuals, DATA members own more than 3M square feet of real estate in Detroit and believe they are exactly what the city needs more of: small businesses who invest in the city. DATA members contribute approximately $7.1M to the local economy annually. Officers of DATA include: Julie Semma, Barry Foster, Troy Ginyard and Christine Davis.
DATA is a non-profit organization working to advance the towing industry, enhance services and increase efficiency in Detroit. DATA provides towing, logistics, storage, scrap and vehicle retrieval.
How do you get paid?
The Board of Police Commissioners (BPC) recommends, and City Council approves, a tow rate. In that regard, our tow rate is $75 per vehicle and has not increased in 15 years, despite the soaring cost of fuel, maintenance and insurance. We operate with one of the lowest tow rates in the country. We have not advocated for an increase in many years because we understand people are hurting financially.
Since the City of Detroit is grappling with a $200 million + budget deficit due in large part to the city’s population loss, property value decline and business loss, the name of the game for the City is increasing revenue. We understand this. The Board of Police Commissioners, Chaired by Pastor Jerome Warfield, are recommending a tow rate increase of $75 to $150. But I want to be clear; the increase will go to the City, not us towers. We will still be making the same $75 per tow.
We agree with the BPC, that the additional $75 should go to the City to help eliminate the deficit and put more police on the streets. We are willing to make sacrifices if the city is willing to allow us to stay in business and store the vehicles, scrap unredeemed or destroyed vehicles, as we have been for generations.
Why does the city want to store the vehicles?
The city thinks they will make money off of storing in their own lots. We believe they have three lots. We don’t know where these lots are or if they are up to code. I can tell you this. I don’t think the city understands the work involved in managing these lots. We 24 DATA members own 3 million square feet of real estate in the City. Our lots are conveniently located throughout all points of the city, along all the major freeways. We have spent upwards of as much as $500,000 each in the last few years bringing our tow yards up to code in the City of Detroit. Just think if every other business and building owner in the City made that kind of investment in their properties, we wouldn’t have the blight and abandoned building problem we do today. Even with storage, we will go along with the Board of Police Commissioners to provide a portion of that revenue back to the City of Detroit.
Where are members located?
DATA is located in Detroit, Michigan. Its membership has 24 company locations strategically located throughout the 138 square miles of the City of Detroit.
In addition to your own business organization, what else are you advocating for?
DATA is advocating for the City of Detroit to continue using locally-owned towing companies that have served the City for a combined 517+ years. DATA is advocating for small businesses and middle class families Detroit desperately needs to re-emerge as an economic center of commerce. DATA is advocating for fair and transparent government contracting practices. DATA is not advocating for an increase to their revenue stream, but to continue providing all the services they have: storage, towing, logistics, etc. DATA has worked without an increase in towing fees for the past 15 years, despite the dramatic increase in the cost of fuel, truck maintenance and insurance. Detroit ranks among the lowest in towing fees, at $75.00 per tow.