RALEIGH, N.C. — The Raleigh City Council heard public feedback Tuesday about a new predatory towing ordinance.
The proposed ordinance would limit towing fees to $85. Impound lots would have to be well-lit and manned 24 hours a day. Some tow truck operators said it will hurt their business and argue it is not fair.
Pam Hopkins said her impression of downtown Raleigh changed in the time it took for her car to get towed.
"It took four minutes to get my order. Before I could walk out the door, my car was out of the drive, up the road and gone," she said.
Some property owners worry that the proposed rate is not high enough to get nuisance vehicles off their lots.
"If we don't set this ordinance at the right rate and the right level, when I call, no one will come," property owner David Permar said.
Lawanda Ray believes an innocent mistake should not become a hardship.
"To come up with $125, to be able to get to work, to me, is just ridiculous," she said.
After eight months of talks, Mayor Charles Meeker wants to get an ordinance passed right away, but council member Philip Isley thinks the mayor is moving too fast.
"For us to sit here and change the entire status of the law in Raleigh, North Carolina just because it's politically the right thing to do is the wrong way to handle this," he said.
The city council will meet next week with all interested parties to come up with an ordinance that the public and towing companies can live with.
The proposal also requires tow truck drivers to notify police when they make a non-consensual tow. If someone shows up after their car is hooked, the tow truck driver needs to return it free of charge.
Among the suggestions made at Tuesday's hearing are to make tow companies take credit cards and checks and try to license the industry.