It is recommended that the City Council authorize the execution of an agreement with Tegsco, LLC, for dispatch, communications, and records software and management services for Law Enforcement Purpose Tows with an annual amount of $525,000 in tow fees payable to local vendors from City funds for tows to the Fort Worth auto pound.
Dispatch fees in the approximate amount of $550,000.00 will be payable to Tegsco for all other Police Initiated Tows (tows taken to a tow vendor's facility) from dispatch fees paid by vehicle owners when reclaiming their vehicles. Due to questions raised about the anticipated volume of tows being higher than staff's prior estimates, the annual amounts are calculated based on an anticipated 3,500 tows being taken to the City auto pound and an additional 25,000 tows being taken to tow vendors' lots.
The purpose of this Mayor and Council Communication (M&C) is to approve a contract for updated dispatch, communications, and records software for all nonconsent tows within the City and management services for Law Enforcement Purpose Tows. For the purpose of this M&C, Law Enforcement Purpose Tows are made up of two categories of tows, tows that are dispatched at the request of a police officer and are paid for by the citizen ("Police-Initiated Tows") and tows that are dispatched at the request of a police officer and are paid for by the City ("Police-Purpose Tows"). Approval of the contract through this M&C will also approve the attached fees, which reflect the amounts of certain fees that may be charged in connection with Law Enforcement Purpose Tows.
Currently, Law Enforcement Purpose Tows involve a manual, resource-intensive process using rotation lists within established zones. Each time an officer encounters a situation requiring a tow truck, the officer radios the Police Department's communications staff who must consult rotation lists of the twenty-plus local contracted vendors and make telephone calls to find a vendor who is next on rotation in that zone, who has the appropriate equipment, and who is ready and able to take the tow call. The manual dispatch and communications process does not clear wrecks as quickly as they could be cleared and takes communications staff time away from their other duties. In addition, using just a strict rotation dispatch model can create life-safety concerns by limiting the Police Department's ability to clear a wreck as quickly as possible when the vehicle poses an immediate safety hazard or is unduly impeding traffic.
Records of towed vehicles are maintained in multiple separate paper and computer files that have to be manually updated by Police Department staff following receipt of information submitted to them by tow companies and City staff via fax, phone, radio, and email. Use of the resource-intensive, low-tech records process can cause delays in providing information to officers and to individuals who are calling to report a towed car as stolen or who are seeking to locate vehicles that they know have been towed.
The final renewal options for the City's current contracts with its towing vendors will expire at the end of September. Because the 3,000-3,500 tows to the City's impound lot, which are paid for by the Police Department, involve expenditure of $450,000 to $525,000 per year, a competitive procurement process was needed to obtain towing services.
Because the City was going out for bid already, the Police Department decided to leverage the opportunity by issuing a request for proposals (RFP) that allowed vendors to propose providing (1) towing services; (2) dispatch, communications, and records software; or (3) dispatch, communication, and records software and towing management services, using towers (either direct employees or subcontractors) that met the qualifications to provide towing services under (1).
Following the RFP process, details of which are provided below, the scoring committee recommended a contract be awarded to Tegsco, LLC (Tegsco).
Key terms of the proposed agreement include:
- All tow providers performing Law Enforcement Purpose Tows must meet qualifications established by the City, including a requirement that the provider have a permanent vehicle storage facility within the City limits.
- Tegsco must offer subcontracts to all tow providers meeting City qualifications and who are also included on the City's approved tow provider lists.
- The City will maintain a separate list of qualified tow providers for each type of tow (police-initiated and police-purpose). It is anticipated that the two towing companies that were qualified through the RFP process will be on the list to receive all Police-Purpose tows and that the list for all Police-Initiated tows will include the two providers approved through the RFP process and all other eligible providers who are later approved by the City. To meet the City's needs as a market participant, it reserves the right to add qualified towers to the list for Police-Purpose tows on an as-needed basis.
- No tow provider may be disciplined, suspended, or terminated by Tegsco without the express prior approval of the Police Department.
- City will pay the established tow fee for each Police-Purpose Tow that is taken to the City's impound lot, with funds initially remitted to Tegsco and then disbursed in full to local vendors.
- The citizen whose car is towed will pay the established tow fee to the local tow provider for each Police-Initiated Tow that is taken to a tow provider's lot.
- The approved tow fees are attached to this M&C. The City will have the discretion to raise these fees if the City determines an increase is necessary to address market conditions.
- Tegsco will not retain any portion of any tow fee.
Vehicle Storage and Auction Proceeds
- Certain vehicles pulled for evidentiary or similar purposes will be sent to the City's impound lot.
- All other Police Initiated Tows will be taken to the tow provider's lot.
- If the vehicle taken to a provider's lot is not redeemed by the vehicle owner/agent, the vehicle can be auctioned in accordance with state law by the tow/impound provider who will keep all of the proceeds. Neither the City nor Tegsco will receive a revenue share of the auction proceeds.
City will impose a dispatch fee of $25 for each Police-Initiated Tow.
For all Police-Initiated Tows the dispatch fee will be handled as follows:
- Vehicle owners/agents reclaiming vehicles will pay the tow provider the full $25 fee.
- $3 will be retained by the tow provider.
- $22 of the fee will be remitted to Tegsco.
The Vendor proposes this fee allocation to ensure tow providers are made whole for the $22 dispatch fee payable to Tegsco for the average number of vehicles that are not anticipated to be reclaimed by owners/agents. In addition to the $3 per tow, tow providers will also retain all proceeds from the auction of unclaimed vehicles, net of any fees required to be paid under state law.
For tows that are taken to the City's impound lot, no dispatch fee will be payable to Tegsco unless the vehicle owner/agent is also required to pay a tow fee.
Dispatch, Communications, and Records Software
Licenses to use the software shall be provided to the City and all tow providers within the City with no license fee required; Tegsco will be compensated for use of the software from the $22/City-Initiated Tow dispatch fee.
Tow providers wishing to take part in City-Initiated Tows must have an internet enabled iPhone or Android device and a computer with an internet connection.
All tow providers within the City will be required to use the reporting software to report private property tows.
No fee is payable to Tegsco in connection with a private property or consent tow; fee only applies to a City-Initiated Tow.
Consent tows are not subject to reporting requirement.
In addition to providing real-time information about each towed vehicle's location via the software, Tegsco must provide a toll-free telephone number that is staffed 24-hours-per-day, seven-days-per-week to assist in locating towed vehicles.
The software and tow dispatch algorithms will be fully customizable by the City to meet the needs of the Police Department and to address any concerns raised by any stakeholder.
For example, the Police Department anticipates initially using a two-tiered dispatch system with Priority One tows (those involving an imminent safety threat or posing an undue traffic hazard as determined in the reasonable discretion of the officer on site) dispatched on a closest-to model and Priority Two tows (all those not meeting Priority One criteria) being dispatched using a fully automate zone-based rotation similar to what is done via the manual process today.
The software will be capable of fully customizable reporting as determined by the City to meet the needs of the Police Department and to address any concerns raised by any stakeholder.
The Police Department will be requiring regular reporting on allocation of tows among vendors to ensure an equitable distribution of Police Initiated Tows among all tow providers, regardless of their size.
Either party would have a right to terminate in the event that there is a material breach of contract by the other party that is not cured as required by the contract.
In addition, the City would also have a right to terminate under the following conditions:
- In the event funding is not appropriated by the City Council.
- At the City's convenience.
This RFP was advertised every Wednesday in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram from May 23, 2018 through June 13, 2018. A pre-proposal conference was held Wednesday, May 30, 2018, at 10:00am at the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex. Fifteen (15) interested firms attended the conference. One hundred thirty-nine vendors were solicited from the purchasing vendor database.
Seven proposals were received. Two proposals were for Towing Services. Two proposals were for dispatch, communications, and records software only. Three proposals were submitted for dispatch, communication, and records software plus towing management services, using towers (either direct employees or subcontractors) that meet City-established qualifications.
It is important to note that the RFP required that (i) any vendor that submitted for the software-plus-services option was required to offer subcontracts to all vendors that submitted and qualified for Towing Services and (ii) all vendors that submitted for Towing Services were agreeing to provide Law Enforcement Purpose Tows, whether by direct City contract or subcontract.
The two proposals submitted for Towing Services were evaluated and both vendors were found to meet the City's qualifications and both companies will be included on the Police-Purpose and Police-Initiated towing lists.
The two proposals submitted for software only were reviewed by the evaluation committee and were found to not meet the minimum requirements of the requested capabilities. Additionally, the proposals required up front funding from the City to implement the systems. No interviews were pursued.
The evaluation committee interviewed all three firms that responded to the dispatch, communication, and records software plus towing management services - the Fort Worth Area Towing Alliance, LLC; Sameis Holdings LLC dba Dispatch & Tracking Solutions; and Tegsco, LLC. The purpose of the interviews was to clarify the understanding of the firms' capabilities, qualifications and technology after scoring each based solely on the written responses. After completing the interviews, the committee rated Tegsco, LLC' s offer as the proposal that presented the best value to the City of Fort Worth.
PRICING ANALYSIS - The towing fees are set by the City. The City will reimburse Tegsco, LLC, without mark-up or additional fees, for the approximately 3,000 vehicles towed to the Auto Pound. For Fiscal Year 2019, the estimated cost will be approximately $525,000.00 annually for vehicles towed to the Auto Pound. A portion of these costs will be offset by fee revenue from customers claiming vehicles following release of the vehicles from the Auto Pound.
M/WBE Office - A waiver of the goal for MBE/SBE subcontracting requirements was requested by the Police Department and approved by the M/WBE Office, in accordance with the BDE Ordinance, because the purchase of goods or services is from sources where subcontracting or supplier opportunities are negligible.
AGREEMENT TERMS - The initial term of the agreement will begin upon execution by both parties and end on September 30, 2019.
RENEWAL OPTIONS - The Agreement may be renewed for up to four successive one-year terms at the City's option. This action does not require specific City Council approval provided that the City Council has appropriated sufficient funds to satisfy the City's obligations during the renewal term.