For the first time ever the city of Denton is deciding what's fair when it comes to towing. On Tuesday night the city council passed a towing ordinance.
Under the new rules, towing companies will be able to charge a maximum of $145 for a normal vehicle being towed without the owner's consent, as well as a storage fee up to $20 per day.
Pat Smith, a local church leader and executive director of the charitable organization Serve Denton, first began pushing for an ordinance last winter after helping several residents deal with tow fees as high as $600.
"Two out of 10 vehicles that are towed are never recovered," said Smith. "They can't afford it."
At the time, the city had only state rules to govern local towing and many residents complained that had created an environment of too many companies in town with some using questionable practices.
Smith worked with a task force made up of other Denton citizens and police as well as property owners and tow truck operators to create a new set of local rules that eventually became the ordinance.
Lt. David Mays from the Denton Police Department led the task force and said this fall that it was important everyone involved in the topic had a say in the rules.
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"It needs to be fair," said Mays.
Smith said he believes that's what they've done with this ordinance and said it protects citizens while still allowing the companies to do their jobs.
Though no one spoke up against the ordinance during the council meeting Tuesday night, some towing companies have said in the past that they don't want any new rules that will make their jobs more difficult.
Additionally, the ordinance will also require tow drivers take a picture of the full car in violation to show that there was true cause for it to be towed, and non-consent towed vehicles must be kept within the city jurisdiction.
The new rules go into effect Dec. 1.