St. Paul residents to get charged more for towing during snow emergencies

The council approved a hike in towing fees on Wednesday.
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Residents in St. Paul face a stiffer payment if their vehicle is towed during a snow emergency.

St. Paul City Council members agreed Wednesday to increase towing fees and standardizing them citywide, with fees having previously varied between $90 to $120 depending on which one of four city zones residents lived in.

The new fee will be $175, which when combined with a $80 police charge and $20 tax, will bring the cost of having your vehicle released from an impound lot to $275.06, compared to $202 last winter.

Motorists will also be charged $15 for every day their car is stored in an impound lot, and they may also be issued with a $56 parking citation.

The move comes because the city's two towing contractors, Bobby and Steve's and Guardian Towing, have been struggling to attract subcontractors to carry out towing.

Per the Pioneer Press, public works operations manager Beverly Farraher said the city's towing performance during last year's snow emergencies was "abysmal" and impacted the city's efforts to clear the streets of snow.

"We have determined that we cannot compete with other tow business across the region unless we raise our tow rates to be minimally competitive," she said.

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The fee is now higher than motorists are charged in Minneapolis, which levies a $138 standard towing charge, or $175 for a heavy duty tow. Taxes, a parking citation and a $6 notification letter fee are also issued.

The city carried out citywide plowing on residential streets Tuesday and Wednesday, following snow before and during the Thanksgiving weekend. 

This was not classed as a snow emergency however, with vehicle owners not required to move their cars, though they were asked to do so.

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