Evanston city officials have struck out in efforts to increase the number of local businesses getting contracts to tow cars during snow emergencies this winter.

The city uses up to 28 private trucks for snow towing operations, but last year only three of them were from Evanston firms.

And even though city employees tried to contact a total of 19 Evanston firms to invite them to bid, there will still be just three Evanston firms doing snow towing this year, assuming the City Council tonight approves the tow plan as submitted by staff.

A staff memo says that of the other 16 Evanston firms on the list,

  • Two said they didn’t have a truck available or didn’t have money available to renew the insurance policy required by the city.
  • Five said they don’t tow vehicles.
  • Four said they weren’t interested.
  • Five couldn’t be reached.

The tow contract guarantees the firms a $450 monthly retainer during snow season and an $80 per hour rate when they’re called out.

Most of the non-Evanston firms used are based in Chicago, but others come from as far away as Alsip and Wheeling.

The three Evanston firms that are scheduled to get contracts are Emergency Road Service, Inc. of 1033 Dodge Ave., North Shore Towing of 2527 Oakton St. and Monarca Towing Service, Inc. of 2006 Dobson St.

The city has averaged just under one-and-a-half snow emergency towing callouts per year over the last several years and the total cost of the program is budgeted at no more than $60,000 a year.

Update 10:25 a.m. 11/11/14: The City Council approved the snow towing contracts without debate Monday night.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. No snow-towing shouldn’t

    No snow-towing shouldn't matter much.  The city allows illegal parking year round, at least at Main and Chicago, so why worry about this? 

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