Towing costs may increase

Michelle Park

If the Kent Police Department tows a person’s car, it may do so for one of three primary reasons: an accident, a seizure or a parking violation, said police Chief James Peach.

In the near future, those drivers whose cars are towed — regardless of reason — may pay more to retrieve their vehicles.

In a committee meeting last night, Kent City Council approved a proposal for vehicle towing rates, which increases the cost of towing from $55 to $85. Council also approved new policies regarding the retrieval of items from an impounded vehicle. Under the proposal, no vehicle equipment, vehicle accessories or other items attached to the vehicle or associated with the operation of the vehicle may be removed by the owner, operator or other person claiming to have custody of the vehicle.

In simpler terms, while drivers may remove a cell phone from an impounded car, they may not take items such as stereo systems.

The possible changes address concerns expressed by four towing companies the city of Kent uses. Company representatives said the companies lose money when people take items from cars and leave the vehicles behind indefinitely.

At Rivers Towing, 30 to 40 percent of people leave their impounded cars once they obtain things from within the vehicles, said Ken Swift, an employee at the towing company.

Aubrey Baker, the owner of Baker’s Towing, said having to pay to move such cars abandoned on the company’s lot hurts the budget.

Such disposal costs run between $40 and $55, Baker said.

One council member voiced concern about items being stolen from impounded cars. Ed Bargerstock pointed out that some electronic equipment in vehicles can be “very valuable.”

Peach said it also must be remembered that sometimes drivers simply need items from their cars. Peach said he was happy with Council’s decision to allow people to remove personal objects from impounded cars.

Contact public affairs reporter Michelle Park at [email protected].