Ramsey renews towing contract with Champlin Towing

The city of Ramsey has renewed its contract with Champlin Towing, but it was not without some discussion.

Before the Ramsey City Council voted unanimously May 14 to renew the two-year towing contract, Councilmember John LeTourneau pulled the case from the consent agenda to talk about the company’s tax bill.

He wanted to have a public discussion on this because the public does not consider the council as being transparent or ethical on this contract, LeTourneau said.

While the staff is happy with how Champlin Towing is going its job, LeTourneau said he is concerned about awarding a contract to a company that is delinquent on its taxes.

The council follows a code of conduct and he would like to see the city contractors follow the code as well because they are representing the city, he said.

Councilmember Mark Kuzma said he was “uncomfortable awarding a contract to someone who is delinquent (on their taxes).”

When the city requested request for proposals (RFP) for towing, it did not ask the businesses if they were current with their taxes, which are collected by Anoka County, said City Administrator Kurt Ulrich.

“It is not taken into consideration,” he said.

When evaluating a company for a city contracts, the staff looks at service and price, Ulrich said.

The city also does not have a policy that governs taking tax delinquency into consideration with contractors, he said

According to Ulrich, Champlin Towing has made a payment plan arrangement with the county.

“(The company) is addressing the issue and making payment plans,” said Councilmember Chris Riley.

Perhaps in the future, the city could consider include something in its RFPs. Is this something other cities are doing, Mayor Sarah Strommen said.

Strommen said she would also want the contractors to follow the same code of conduct, which is part of the council’s strategic plan.

Champlin Towing was one of four companies that submitted RFPs for the job.

The four companies included First Choice of Ramsey, North Star Towing of Anoka and Collin Brothers of Elk River.

“Champlin had the overall lowest bid price and met all the conditions,” said Police Chief Jim Way.

Champlin Towing would be called for tows that occur as a “result of an arrest, accident, motorist aid and other police matters and be paid by the vehicle’s owner or driver at the rate set by the contract,” he said.

“Police, fire and public works vehicles will be towed at no cost,” Way said.

The city’s existing contract with Champlin Towing expires June 30.

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]