Easley business owner seeking ‘fair’ treatment

By Ben Robinson

Courier Staff

EASLEY — An Easley businessman appeared in front of city council Monday night to demand fair treatment for the owners of tow trucks in the city.

Chris Merck, owner of Merck Automotive, said that though he has made several attempts to get into the city’s rotation of places called when a tow truck is needed, so far he has been unable to join in the rotation.

Currently only seven tow truck operators are on that list. Merck felt there should be room for at at least one more.

“I contributed $60,000 in taxes to this city,” Merck said. “I just feel this should be fair to everyone.”

Merck said that once a company earns a spot on the towing list, it is rare for to relinquish it.

Merck suggested that the business which has been on the list longest should have to rotate with any new business that wants on the list.

City Administrator Fox Simons said that the current ordinance was adopted a few years when the towing situation in Easley was somewhat of “a mess.”

Mayor Larry Bagwell appointed a committee of council members Jim Garrison, Chris Mann and Thomas Wright to review the city’s towing services. Bagwell warned that the committee may recommend that fewer companies be used for their towing services.

“Sometimes we have to go back and re-do these ordinances so that we are fair to everyone,” Council member Kim Valentin said.

in other business

Council also unanimously approved a mutual aid agreement with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department, now led by new Sheriff Rick Clark. In addition, council approved awarding a contract of $272,000 to Phillips Brothers Construction to build a restroom, press box and a multi-function area at the football/soccer field area at the J.B. “Red” Owens Recreation Complex.

Council also approved Bagwell signing a proclamation citing October as National Disability Awareness Month.

Simons told council members the city will hold Halloween festivities for children Oct. 31 in Old Market Square.

Simons also announced that officials will meet Nov. 14 at the Pickens County YMCA for a discussion of the proposed Rails to Trails project along the railways between Pickens and Easley. A council member pointed out that day would co-incide with Clemson’s nationally televised football game with Georgia Tech. Simons said he would check to see if it could somehow be rescheduled to encourage broader participation.