OCEAN CITY – The City Council unanimously voted to pass the first reading of an ordinance increasing the towing fees throughout the town this summer, an increase operators say is necessary with rising fuel costs.
Several representatives from local towing companies were present at a Police Commission last month to discuss the current towing prices; prices that they claim are too low.
As it currently stands, towing companies only receive $35 for showing up to a potential vehicle tow and an additional $125 for the actual tow. Representatives explained that they are often called to tow a vehicle and arrive to find the owner moving the vehicle already, explaining that although they did not tow the vehicle, the gas and man-hours were still spent on the call. As a result, the ordinance calls for an increase in the price of a service call from $35 to $65 and an increase to $150 for the actual tow.
The cost of winching vehicles that are stuck on the beach or in other areas is also addressed in the ordinance. Representatives explained last month that under the city ordinance, they could only charge $35 for pulling a vehicle out of the sand. The ordinance calls for the price to increase to $50, with and additional $100 per hour after the first hour.
The fine for moving a vehicle out of the street, but not actually towing it to the impound lot, also currently stands at $35. Moving a vehicle out of the street is often required in the event that an accident has occurred or a vehicle has broken down but the driver has opted to call their motor club to have the vehicle towed. In that instance, police still call local towing companies to have the vehicle moved out of the way as quickly as possible. The ordinance would raise the price to $75.
The ordinance would also address the current price for moving medium to heavy load vehicles. As it stands the fee is the same for all vehicles, no matter the size. To solve the problem, the ordinance outlines a fee of $125 per hour for medium duty vehicles and $150 per hour for heavy-duty vehicles, such as delivery trucks.
The ordinance also calls for an increased storage fee for vehicles held in the impound lot. Currently, the town charges $5 for the first day that a vehicle is in the impound lot at 65th Street and $10 for each additional day. The new fee will be $10 for the first day and $15 for each day thereafter.
The City Council voted to unanimously pass the ordinance on first reading. If passed on second reading, the council aims to have the changes go into affect on June 1.