PA wrecker service added to rotation list

Published 5:11 pm Friday, July 21, 2017

Maybe good things come to those who wait.

The Port Arthur City Council approved increasing the number wrecker service providers and amending the non-preference rotation system at their regular meeting on July 18. But first, there was a discussion before a decision was reached.

The current number of wrecker business permit holder on the list was 15 and the list was full.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

What led to this was the Council approved chief of police, Patrick Melvin, to issue a wrecker business permit to Felix AAA Auto Salvage at 6375 West Port Arthur Rd. at their meeting on July 11.

Herbert Felix Sr., owner of Felix AAA, spoke at last month’s City Council meeting and said he has been trying to get his license since 1990. The City Council approved proceeding to authorize the chief of police to issue a wrecker permit for the business.

He said he has filled out numerous applications with the city, but he was given the runaround. His applications were constantly misplaced over the years. The application would become outdated by the time a public hearing was scheduled with the city council.

Osman Swati, District 6 Councilman, said he concerned about which service would be called to be first on scene, particularly at major thoroughfares to get traffic moving again.

Lt. Chris Sigler with the Port Arthur Police Department said it’s up to the discretion of the officer on the scene to get the traffic flowing.

Swati said there’s nothing in the city ordinance about being first on scene. Sigler agreed but said it’s in the policy on wrecker trucks. The company who arrives first on scene is moved to the bottom of the list for the next call out.

“I don’t think a wrecker service should be punished for being first on the scene,” Swati said.

Mayor Derrick Freeman said he was concerned about mom and pop wrecker services getting pinched out to larger conglomerates for calls in the city if the ordinance was changed.

Harold Doucet Sr., District 4 Councilman, said if the wrecker service lives within the city they should be on the call out list. Everyone else could be considered on an individual basis.

Willie “Bae” Lewis Jr., District 5 Councilman, said his intention was to get Felix AAA on the roll.

The Council voted to increase the number of wrecker services to 17 to include Felix and another company who was petitioning to be placed on the list.

In other Council business, Lewis gave a presentation on a mile-long green space along Sabine Lake that could be used to develop a waterpark on Pleasure Island. This was a non-action item.

He said this was related to a General Land Office Grant pertaining to Pleasure Island and the Sabine Pass Water Front Project. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would be another funding source. The deadline to apply is September.

“I’ve asked for this 25 years ago,” Lewis said. “This will serve more people on the island. This is a doable project and we owe it to the public.

“It’s an opportunity. Young people always say there’s nothing to do here. They have to go out of town to do anything. Will it be expensive? Yes. Will there be opposition to it? There’s always opposition.”

He added that the city can only get one shot to land the project and it would be a great opportunity for economic development that would lure private enterprise.