Public Safety Committee Meets Today, Will Vote on Raising Police Towing, Impound Fees

Published : Wednesday, August 15, 2018 | 5:19 AM

The Pasadena City Council’s Public Safety Committee today will hear Wednesday a City staff recommendation to revise the current police towing franchise fee and raise vehicle impound and storage rates in the City.

The franchise fee is charged to tow truck operators. The towing, impound and vehicle fees are charged to members of the public whose vehicles are impounded during instances when vehicles are involved in collisions, abandoned, suspected to be stolen, or otherwise require storage by police.

Vehicle impounding and storage rates, which vehicle owners pay to the towing franchisee, would be raised to $151 per impound and $42 for the daily storage if the Committee adopts the Police Department recommendation and the full Council later concurs.

Current rates established by the City Council are $139 per impound and $33 per day of storage. The increases represent hikes of 8.6 percent and 27.7 percent, respectively.

Police also want to change the way the current police towing franchise fee is calculated and structured.

Pasadena collects a total of $90,000 divided among participating tow operators to earn a non-exclusive police towing franchise. Currently, there are four participating tow operators, who each pay $22,500 per year.

Police recommend changing the formula from dividing $90,000 equally among participating operators into a new, standardized flat franchise fee of $22,500 per operator. regardless of the number.

The current franchise fee system has been in place since 1999. Before that, the City collected an aggregate of $150,000 per year as approved by the City Council in 1997.

Under Chapter 10.46 of the Pasadena Municipal Code, the City Council is authorized to grant a non-exclusive franchise to any qualified person or company to engage in the business of towing vehicles in response to police requests for vehicle towing or impounding services within the city. The franchise has a one-year term with annual renewal options of up to four additional one-year terms unless earlier terminated. Each franchisee pays the City every quarter.

To put any of these proposed changes in effect, the Public Safety Committee would have to approve them and pass them to the City Council to amend the Fiscal Year 2019 General Fee Schedule, which was last updated on July 9.

The Public Safety Committee meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the City Council Chamber, Room S249 at City Hall, 200 North Garfield Avenue.

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