The Killeen City Council came to a consensus at its workshop meeting Tuesday night regarding towing rate increases.
The council recommended that city staff draft an ordinance to present at a later meeting that raises the towing fee to $150, adds a flat-bed fee of $50, a wait time fee of $20 charged in 15-minute increments, a $95 per hour winching fee charged in 30-minute increments and a $3 charge per mile if the vehicle is towed outside of Killeen.
The city’s current rate is a flat $90 fee for arrest-related tows and $110 for accidents. The city has not increased the fee in a decade. Fees are charged to the vehicle owner or their insurance company, not to the city.
Although the council came to a consensus, members of the towing association sitting in the audience shook their heads when the council agreed to eliminate a fuel surcharge.
The towing association requested a fuel surcharge in the amount of 10 percent of all tow charges. It also originally requested a $95 per hour wait time fee charged in 30-minute increments.
The wait time charge begins after the tow truck has been sitting idle on the scene of an accident for 30 minutes.
“Towing association, you’re a lot better off than you were before,” Mayor Dan Corbin told members in the audience after relaying the council’s recommendations for an ordinance to staff.
The association presented the council with its requests in late August and again in early November.
The council directed city staff to gather more information from insurance companies regarding whether the fee increases were justifiable.
The council also asked staff to negotiate with the towing association to bring some of the amounts down before a recommendation is made.
Upon negotiations, the association eliminated its requested $95 rollover fee to right a vehicle that has flipped.
Traci Briggs, deputy city attorney, said she talked to three different insurance companies and none could provide a definite number for what is reasonable to charge, but they said they pay “anything that is reasonable.”
Briggs said the insurance providers as well as representatives from the towing companies said it’s “extremely rare” for an insurance company to deny tow charges.
Briggs said upon receiving guidance from the council, city staff will draft an ordinance to present to the council in the future for approval.