Drivers may soon pay more in towing expenses as the Auburn City Council raised the ceiling on towing fees at its last meeting.
At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Council members approved an ordinance to raise the maximum fee towing companies can charge for towing on private property to $125 from $100.
The ordinance was first amended by Ward 8 Council member Tommy Dawson.
The ordinance, which increases the maximum fee for nonconsensual towing on private property, was made at the request of a towing company that the maximum fee amount be increased to "$125 or $130," according to City Manager Megan Crouch.
The maximum fee had not changed since 2008. The City calculated the original proposed fee of $150 based on inflation and comparison to other cities.
At the Council's previous meeting, Dawson denied the approval of the ordinance and postponed it so community members could have time to voice their concerns about the fee change.
During the discussion of the ordinance, Dawson proposed an amendment to lower the proposed fee of $150 to $125, closer to the amount requested by the towing companies.
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“They did not request $150 I can tell you that, that was based on an inflationary thing and again back to our benchmarking,” Crouch said. “Lowering it to $125 I would still say is better than leaving it at $100 in terms of how they feel about it.”
The ordinance also raises the fee for storing vehicles after 24 hours from $10 to $20. No fees are charged if the vehicle is picked up within 24 hours of being towed.
The maximum fee that can be charged for wheel locking also increased to $75 as a result of the ordinance.
At the start of the meeting, Council members made a variety of announcements.
Two of the announcements came from Ward 2 Council member Kelley Griswold, who commended 11-year-old Zachary Bryant who saved a child that had fallen into the pool at InTown Suites, an extended stay hotel in Auburn.
“I just want to commend publicly Zachary Bryant for his swift actions and his compassion and his knowledge in what it took to help that young man,” Griswold said.
Griswold also reported that Ward 5 Council member Steven Dixon’s lawsuit surrounding short-term rentals has cost the City $32,000 by the end of September.
Dixon, who has rented his property out on a short-term basis since 2018, sued the City of Auburn after the City Council voted to enact an ordinance that prohibits the use of short-term non-primary rentals and homestays in several zoning districts.
Griswold also reported the costs at the previous City Council meeting.
“As provided by the City Attorney, it is my understanding that $18,932.91 has been billed in attorney fees and costs in defense of this case as of Aug. 31, 2021,” Griswold said at the Oct. 5 meeting.
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