No tow truck operators showed up Monday night at the Town Council meeting. No vehicle owners with a burning desire to test their luck on private lots anywhere downtown. And no parking lot property owners.
The council’s scheduled public hearing on the town’s changes two years ago to the fees that can be charged for towing from private lots didn’t draw a single person who wanted to be heard. All the angst about predatory towing that surfaced two years ago, when 11 people aired their frustrations and some talked about the high costs of tow-truck maintenance, insurance for the trucks and storage spaces, was not in evidence.
On March 3, 2008, the council amended ordinances dealing with towing from private lots in some downtown areas. The council set maximum fees that may be charged at $100 for towing or removing a vehicle, $20 per day for the storage of a towed vehicle after the first 24 hours, and $50 to detach a vehicle from a tow truck if the vehicle’s owner or operator returns to the vehicle before it has been removed from the parking lot property.
The fees are reviewed each year at a public hearing during the first council business meeting in March. That means that if anyone has a problem with the rules, that’s the time to let the council know.
But the opportunity for critiquing the changes came and went with not a peep from the public.
“I don’t believe I have anybody who’s signed up to speak on this,” Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said as he looked to the town clerk. After Kleinschmidt asked for comments or questions from council members, Jim Ward suggested that since there was no public comment, the council’s action must have improved the situation.
So Kleinschmidt closed the public hearing and the council moved on to other matters.
Anyone who has a complaint about predatory towing will just have to keep it in storage until next year’s public hearing.