SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio City Council voted Thursday to raise the fee towing companies are allowed to charge for private property tows from $85 to $177. State law allows companies to immediately tack-on an impound fee and one day of storage, so the total price will be about $220.
Council members we spoke with said the city was forced by state law to conduct a tow fee study, taking into consideration that business expenses have gone up for towing companies. The study was conducted by the city's Finance Department.
The new fee is the highest among large Texas cities.
Police Chief Bill McManus says that is only because other major cities haven't conducted tow fee studies in years, but they will also be forced to do that at some point, and then their fees will rise as well.
Elizabeth Johnson of the San Antonio Towing Association told us the local towing industry isn't happy with the $177 fee, which they think should be higher. However, she did concede that it is much better than the $85 fee cap under the current ordinance, which was written in 2002.
Councilman Diego Bernal took issue with people saying the Council's vote raised the towing fee. He says the $85 fee had to go up because it was outdated, and the Council's action actually prevented a steeper increase, which the towing companies were pushing for.
Chief McManus said the new fee should go into effect in ten days.