City officials presented a compilation of requests from the West Bell County Towing Association to the Killeen City Council at its Tuesday workshop meeting following requests for an increase in towing rates. City staff vowed to look into a fee hike at the request of more than a dozen local towing companies in late August.
Thirteen local towing companies asked the city to increase its fees charged to residents who have their vehicles towed by police. The request was brought before the council in August by Rose Goode, an employee of Goode Towing and a representative for the towing association, who cited that it has been a decade since rates were increased.
The city’s current rate is a flat $90 fee for arrest-related tows and $110 for accidents. Fees are charged to the vehicle owner or their insurance company, not to the city.
Traci Briggs, deputy city attorney, said the towing association is requesting an initial fee be increased to $140 to $150, plus a $50 fee if the tow requires a flat-bed truck, a $95 per hour fee charged in 30-minute increments beginning after the tow truck has been on the scene for a half-hour, a $95 rollover fee if a car is flipped, a $95 winching fee and $3 per mile if the vehicle is towed outside of Killeen city limits. The association also requested a 10 percent fuel surcharge. Briggs said the rate increases would mean a tow would run about $313.
Members of the towing community said a fee increase is needed to cover costs including paying for an increasing number of operating licences from the state and federal government, training costs, drug testing and other business-related expenses. They also said fuel costs have increased over the past 10 years. The council gave city staff guidance in what it would like to see negotiated with the towing association before proceeding to pass a fee hike. Councilman Jose Segarra suggested city staff negotiate a flat rate with no additional fees, but Mayor Dan Corbin said he believes residents should be charged based on the services provided.
Councilmen Steve Harris and Jonathan Okray asked staff to get input from insurance companies regarding the fees that would be tacked on and whether they are justifiable. The council requested that city staff negotiate with the towing association to bring some of the numbers down before bringing a recommendation to the council to be considered for approval.