Look Before you Park

rofessional Parking Services is the main towing company used on campus. There are many other tow companies in town.

Photo credit: Cayla McDonald

Residents who illegally park in private lots will now pay more to get their cars back.

Commissioners recently approved hiking maximum trespass tow fees from $88 to $110.

The $22 bump was pushed by towing companies who had gone 10 years without any increase in what they can charge motorists whose cars they tow off to their lots. They have argued the costs of fuel, insurance, and labor of doing business have gone up increasingly since the last increase.

The ordinance took effect last Thursday and included two other changes: The maximum per-day storage fee, which went from $15 to $25, and the amount that can be charged in administrative fees for sending letters to owners, holders, or insurance companies is now $45, up from $33.

On the bright side drivers who pay their tow fee in cash are now also entitled to a $5 discount since towing companies can avoid credit-card processing fees.

The increase puts Tallahassee in the class of more than a dozen Florida citizens that charge more than $100 in towing fees. The city last increased the maximum tow rate in 2005 when commissioners pushed it from $80 to $88.

Tallahassee attorney Ron Mowrey spoke on behalf of several tow companies in support of the increase before commissioners adopted it.

“This is a fair, equitable way to let these folks continue to make a living, and it’s a reasonable increase,” he said.

Several towing companies showed their support for the increase. Several property owners who use the towing services wrote letters to the commission endorsing the change.

Second-year nursing student at Florida State University (FSU), Dinez Banos asked commissioners to table the issue so she could poll students.

“This is an important student issue,” she said. “No student wants to get towed, we’re just trying to graduate.”