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Tow truck owners seek rate increase after being frozen for 11 years (FL)


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The maximum rate that towing companies in Escambia County are allowed to charge hasn't changed since 2009 and towing business owners are calling on the county to increase the rate.

 

The Escambia County Commission is scheduled to discuss raising its cap on non-consensual towing rates at its next Committee of the Whole meeting on March 11.

 

A county ordinance caps the rate for non-consensual towing and vehicle storage, which for cars under 10,000 pounds is set at a flat fee of $100 for towing and $20 a day for storage. Additional fees can be charged such as a $35 administrative fee and extra labor fees if a tow truck driver has to wait at the scene of an accident for longer than 30 minutes.

 

Non-consensual towing can occur if a person parks their car without the permission of a property owner, or in the event of a car wreck in which the police request a car to be towed from the scene. In the event of a wreck, some car insurance policies will cover the cost of towing.

 

Local tow truck owners have appealed to the County Commission at recent public forums to ask for the caps on the rate to be increased, arguing that they are the lowest in Florida. Those who have spoken have said that the rising costs of insurance and labor are becoming difficult to cover with the fees so low.

 

Gary Sapp, the owner of Gary Sapp Automotive, was one of the business owners who spoke before the commission at their meeting on Feb. 4.

 

Sapp said he owned six tow trucks, but he can afford to operate only three of them because of increasing insurance costs.

 

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