Richmond considers increase in towing fees: Rates would go up to $125

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA. (WWBT) - In the Fan district temporary tow away zones pop up all the time and if you're not careful, you could soon be paying way more than you expected to get your car back. The city says it may be time to raise the fees.

Jackson Ward resident Leighton Powell admits she parked in a tow away zone. But when she went to pick up her car, she was shocked the company charged her $125.

"It was frustrating because I knew the city code I looked it up. I knew that the maximum was 65 dollars in the city and I told them that. I sited the code and they didn't care," said Powell.

Now the city is considering raising the price to $125, which is the maximum allowed by the state. Gary Marshall owns Marshall Brothers Towing. He says the city hasn't raised the fee in ten years.

"With the economy, the increase in fuel prices, insurance and the cost of the equipment has just skyrocketed. And the city has just not kept pace with it," said Marshall.

He considers towing companies the parking police, helping businesses keep their private property clear.  When the towing advisory board disappeared several years ago, he says many towing companies automatically started charging the state rate.

Some tow companies say it may have taken the price revolt to finally get their need for a higher fee on the city's radar.

"People kind of said enough is enough. Nothing was happening on the city level," Marshall said.

But to residents like Powell who've already paid a hefty price...

"I think it's a way to legalize bad behavior that's going on every day," Powell said.

The city council meets tonight and is expected to introduce the new ordinance. It still needs to go through committee and a public hearing, so it could be several weeks before it's voted on.

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