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City votes to increase towing fees

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Change aligns with Highway Patrol rate

By Jesef Williams

If your vehicle is stopped by a Lancaster police officer and requires towing, you will now pay more for it.

Lancaster City Council voted unanimously at its June 25 meeting to raise the amount of money partnering towing companies can charge when responding to a Lancaster Police Department call.

This is when towing is needed as a result of traffic or other violations, abandonment or impoundment, among other reasons.

“Owners of the wrecker companies would like to have the fees raised to reflect that of the S.C. Highway Patrol,” Lancaster Police Chief Harlean Howard said in a memo.

The fee to tow a non-wrecked vehicle during normal business hours has gone from $50 to $75. The fee has increased from $85 to $110 if towing is required during non-business hours or holidays.

Council’s vote on the fee changes was 6-0. Councilman Kenny Hood wasn’t at the June 25 meeting.

The change, though, doesn’t pertain to vehicles involved in collisions.

“The towing fee, as set by the ordinance, only applies to situations where vehicles are primarily towed for non-wreck incidents upon the request of the police department,” Howard said. “The set fees do not apply to the removal of wrecked vehicles.”

Insurance carriers handle the paying of towing fees for wrecked vehicles.

The city of Lancaster doesn’t have set fees for such towing.
City Council will consider second reading of towing ordinance at its Tuesday, July 9 meeting.

Changes to city manuals

Also at its June 25 meeting, City Council unanimously approved:

– A resolution that amends and approves the city’s safety policy manual. The manual must be adopted every year to meet state guidelines.
Key changes includes the removal of a section that says temporary employees, interns and committee members can operate city vehicles.
Another change is the inclusion of the following statement: “All employees should review the list of commonly cited OSHA standards.” OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

– A resolution that adds an asbestos policy to the city’s existing administrative policy manual.

Among its inclusions, the asbestos policy says a project manager – before any repairs or construction – has to arrange a survey to see if “asbestos-containing materials” are present in the work area. “The survey must be conducted prior to disturbance of any material through renovation, demolition, etc.,” the policy states.