Individuals who have cars towed inside the Statesboro city limits will pay a little bit more to get their vehicles back thanks to a fee increase approved by the City Council on Tuesday.
The request was brought by Police Chief Mike Broadhead at the request of the wrecker companies that contract with the City of Statesboro, A&P Towing and GATA Towing. The request for an increase in the rates assessed by the two wrecker services stems from a state law which requires the local governing authority to set the rates based on a scale set by the state. Current rates, which have been in effect since November 2017, are below the maximum allowed by the State of Georgia, which prompted the request for the increase.
The maximum fees permitted would be as follows:
- Vehicles under 10,000 lbs would increase by $25 to ‘up to $175’ per tow
- Vehicles 10,001 -20,000 lbs would increase by $150 to ‘up to $300’ per tow
- 20,0001 lbs or greater would increase by $200 to ‘up to $450’ per tow
- 20,0001 lbs or greater COMBO would increase by $400 to ‘up to $850’ per tow
- Daily storage for vehicles under 10,000 lbs would increase by $10 to $25/day
- Daily storage for vehicles 10,001 -20,000 lbs would increase by $10 to $30/day
- Daily storage for vehicles 20,0001 lbs or greater would increase by $15 to $40/day
- Daily storage for vehicles 20,0001 lbs or greater COMBO would increase by $25 to $75/day
For instances where the vehicle has been hooked but has not left the premises and the owner presents a key and removes the vehicle immediately:
- Fee is increased to ‘up to $100’ from $60 for vehicles 19,999 lbs or less
- Fee is increased to ‘up to $150’ from $100 for vehicles 20,000 lbs or more
- the after hours fee cap is increased from $25 to $50
Councilwoman Sherri Barr said during discussion that she had concerns about posts she had seen on social media about the wreckers targeting ‘beat up’ cars because they would have a harder time coming up with the fees and would subsequently be impounded for a longer period of time. She brought up concerns about any respective tow truck driver using their discretion to decide which car is towed.
Mayor Jonathan McCollar asked if it was known that the wrecker services were doing that or if it was just speculation, to which City Manager Charles Penny said he was not sure.
Chief Broadhead, however, said the city tries to eliminate the ability for a tow truck driver to use his or her discretion by requiring a manager or property owner to sign off on a tow from private property.
Councilman Phil Boyum asked if those forms were on record for verification to ensure that tows were authorized, which Broadhead confirmed was correct. He said there is a $1,000 fine for an unauthorized tow and the public can verify with the police department if there is any concern about whether or not a tow was lawful.
A motion to approve the measure was made by Riggs, seconded by Chavers, and the agenda item was approved unanimously.