The Bell County Commissioners Court on Monday voted to increase the rates towing companies are allowed to charge.

The increase, the first in 20 years, raises the amount tow companies are allowed to charge motorists from $90 for an arrest-related tow and $110 for an accident to a flat $150.

The increase brings the fees in line with what the cities of Killeen and Temple allow while keeping Bell County in the bottom one-third of counties in Texas, Precinct 2 Commissioner Richard Cortese said.

The fees are charged by the tow truck drivers to motorists and insurance companies.

Currently, drivers are put on rotation and called by the police department to tow vehicles after an arrest or accident.

Bruce Wilkerson, president of the East Bell County Towing Association, and Rose Goode, president of the West Bell County Towing Association, said the increase is a necessity.

An in-house estimate conducted by Goode showed the cost of running a towing business has gone up 197 percent in the last 11 years.

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