Towing rates to rise in Fredericksburg
BY ROBYN SIDERSKY
The Fredericksburg City Council at Tuesday night’s meeting gave the go-ahead for towing companies in the city to increase trespass towing rates from $65 to $125.
Several towing company representatives spoke in favor of the increase, explaining how their costs have increased since the last time the rate was examined, nine years ago.
The potential increase comes at the recommendation of the city’s Towing Advisory Board.
The new fee would be the same as the maximum fee allowed by state law.
The state law also allows for an additional fee of $25 if a car is towed on nights, weekends or holidays. A tower can charge for two of those three scenarios at one time, potentially increasing the maximum fee to $175.
However, those add-on fees would not be allowed in the city under the amended ordinance.
The fee for storing a vehicle after the first 24 hours is also proposed to more than double, from $20 to $50 per 24-hour period.
There are also several other proposed changes to the city’s towing ordinance. They would:
- Require that all storage facilities be secured.
- Increase the penalty for towing companies that violate the rules, from $1,000 to $1,500.
- Require tow truck drivers to photograph vehicles in violation with a time and date stamp on the photo to indicate why the car needed to be towed.
- Review the policy every two years.
Councilman Matt Kelly said that he would need justification to raise the rate that much.
Several owners of towing companies spoke about the increase in costs their businesses have seen over the past nine years. Those costs include insurance, fuel, rent and mortgage payments, and utilities.
One tower said that for every car he tows for $65, he makes only a $5 profit.
Compared with other area jurisdictions, Fredericksburg currently has the lowest rate because it has not been reviewed for so long.
A few people also spoke about how the current $65 fee is not a deterrent to some who park illegally.
Last fiscal year, there were 1,828 tows in the city, according to a memo from City Attorney Kathleen Dooley.
In another matter, Both Kelly and Councilman Fred Howe III said that they don’t think the Eagle Village shopping center meets sign requirements, and that should be reviewed.
The ordinance will be on second reading at the July 24 City Council meeting.
Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413