Police seek towing ordinance change

WESTFIELD – The City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance change which will increase towing fees, but eliminate storage fees, as the Police Department negotiates with several new towing contractors.
The department is seeking to change the existing ordinance to increase the towing fee for commercial vehicles from $50 to $100 and for passenger vehicles from $25 to $50.
The issue was discussed in both the Legislative & Ordinance Committee, which gave it a positive recommendation and on the City Council floor during discussion prior to the first reading vote.
Ward 4 Councilor Mary O’Connell argued that a 100 percent increase in the fee was too steep.
“I’ve had two constituents call complaining about the fee,” O’Connell said. “Doubling it seems to be a lot. I just have a problem with that.”
O’Connell said that the current towing contractor, Michael’s Towing, also requires a cash payment and does not accept either checks or credit cards.
Police Chief John Camerota said the city is not continuing its contract with Michael’s for a number of reasons, including the cash payment requirement and its accountability for city funds.
“Right now we’re in discussion with three firms, they are looking for property because they will need a lot in the city,” Camerota said. “But we can’t move forward on new contracts until we get new language (eliminating the storage fees).”
Camerota said the towing operators want a cleaner contract where they only are accountable for the towing fees paid to the Police Department. The fees fund the department’s reserve account for capital purchase of line vehicles, special duty vehicles such as ATVs and, in the future, the marine patrol.
The second and final passage of the ordinance amendment is slated for the City Council’s March 19 session.

To Top