• December 28, 2014

Cove council approves increase in towing fees, related services

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Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014 4:30 am

COPPERAS COVE — Fees for city towing and other related wrecker services just got more expensive for residents, in a move that more closely mirrors Killeen’s towing fee increases.

At Tuesday’s Copperas Cove City Council meeting, Mike Heintzelman, deputy chief of police, told council members the wrecker services on the city’s rotation list complained that increased fees from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations made doing business at current rates difficult.

The Copperas Cove Police Department uses seven wrecker businesses to assist with accident cleanups, impounding vehicles due to arrest, and for parking violations and other circumstances warranted by police.

Code of Ordinances Sec. 19-66 controls the maximum fees wrecker services can charge, and that hasn’t changed for close to a decade. The additional costs to businesses come from having to cover costs related to increasing operational licenses, training costs, drug testing and other staff-related expenses.

“The wrecking tow service industry has undergone major changes,” Heitzelman said. “(The fee schedule) will look exactly like what the city of Killeen approved two months ago. Some towing companies there, too, had to adjust rates to keep up.”

Phil Egbert, owner of Phil’s Paint and Body, said most people don’t understand what wrecker drivers had to face when on a service call.

“If a car is in a swimming pool we do it all — we drain, clean and pull it out,” he said. “Sometimes we face angry or drunk clients and we have to call the cops for help. It’s not always easy. And all those new fees, they add up. Even my office staff is now required to be licensed and they’re not even driving.”

Killeen’s new city ordinance increases basic tow fees to $150 and adds a $50 flat-bed fee.

The Copperas Cove council unanimously approved a similar schedule where towing services for collision and noncollisions reasons are now $150.

The hourly fee additional to other charges after the first hour of service is now $80; using a dolly or flatbed will cost $50, and for uprighting a vehicle, it will cost $50. Mileage fees jumped from $2 to $3 per mile.

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