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winchel dec 14

Johnson explains wrecker bill

During last week’s Fiscal Court meeting a wrecker bill from Chad’s Wrecker Service sparked discussion.  As reported in the story:

C&L Wrecker Service charged the county $250 dollars to remove a stuck snow plow during the storm. In the same storm Chad's Wrecker Service charged the county $1,500 to transport a disabled snow plow approximately 15 miles to the county barn.
Road Supervisor Timmy West reported to the Court that he has a rotating list of wreckers that his department uses, similar to other county and state agencies. He said when he contacted Chad's he told them he had a snow plow with a broken axle that would have to be pulled up a steep hill. West said the first wrecker dispatched by Johnson was too small to do the job, and that another larger wrecker had to be dispatched to pull the plow.
Magistrates took issue not only with the widely varying rates, but also with the lack of itemized, detailed information on the invoice from Chad's.
After discussing the matter with County Attorney Dick Deye the Court moved to pay all bills except the tow bill from Chad's. Judge Fields was clear that he thought the bill should be paid, but that a system needs to be considered where wrecker services on the Road Department list should agree to set rates before being placed on the contract.
Fourth District Magistrate David Whittinghill started that he didn't think the county should be liable to pay time and fees to Chad's for bringing the wrong sized wrecker to the scene initially. He asked the County Attorney if the county should pay the portion of the bill for the inadequate wrecker, and was told by Deye that he thought they shouldn't be liable. Deye continued, pointing out that the lack of information on the bill from Chad's made it impossible to see what the charges for each wrecker, and the hours billed, actually were.
After discussion the Court agreed to ask for more information from Chad's Wrecker Service before the bill will be paid.

Chad Johnson, owner of Chad’s Wrecker Service contacted Beech Tree News and provided the following explanation and copies of the invoice in question and rate sheet used.
According to Johnson, he never spoke to Timmy West, but was contacted by Anthony Perrin, an employee of the Butler County Road Department, to recover a GMC 8500 2-ton plow truck with a broken axel.  The truck was loaded with salt and located on Gary Ridge Road under two hills. 
“I responded with a wrecker and an additional employee.  The county workers removed the chains from the county truck and helped me put them on my wrecker.  Due to the ice I could not pull the truck out. I told Perrin I could try with my larger wrecker, he said do whatever it takes. We then returned to the shop and got the larger wrecker.  We had to winch the truck out 150 feet at a time with multiple pulls.  We also had to remove salt from the truck and place in the tracks on the road.  I worked for over six hours recovering the truck,” said Johnson.
According to Johnson’s invoice, the county was billed for five hours at $300 per hour for a total of $1500 and not billed for the initial wrecker.
“I did not charge a call out fee, or for the extra man I took with me.  The 15-mile tow was included in the charge,” added Johnson. “According to the Kentucky State Police Rotating Wrecker Service rate sheet,  I could have charged $400 per hour.”
Johnson stated that he did not think it was fair to compare wrecker bills.  “Each recovery was different," said Johnson.

Johnson plans to attend the next Fiscal Court meeting and answer any questions of the court.

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