00-016-O

ORDINANCE NO. __________

AN ORDINANCE PERTAINING TO TOWING REGULATIONS; AMENDING SECTIONS 33-248, 33-256 AND 33-259 OF THE DULUTH CITY CODE, 1959, AS AMENDED.

BY COUNCILOR STENBERG:

The city of Duluth does ordain:

Section 1. That Section 33-248 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 33-248. Fees; issuance; investigation.

(a)  Each application shall be referred by the city clerk to the chief of police for investigation of the applicant, the applicant's equipment, and the applicant's garage and storage facilities. After completion of the investigation, the chief of police shall report to the city clerk whether the applicant and the applicant's equipment and storage facilities are appropriate for the conduct of an emergency wrecker service business;

(b)  The city clerk shall issue a license to all qualified applicants which shall expire on June 30 of each year. No license shall be assignable or transferable. No license shall be issued unless the requirements of this Article are met;

(c)  The annual fee for emergency wrecker service license shall be $200 $350 for each business;

(d)  In addition, an annual inspection fee of $20 shall be charged for each vehicle proposed to be used for wrecker service under this Article;    Each applicant shall accompany its application with current inspection certificates required by the state of Minnesota certifying that all wreckers to be used are in good operating condition;

(e)  The fees specified are payable at the time of application and no refund of fees shall be made except that the annual license fee for the wrecker service shall be refunded if a license application or renewal application is rejected. No proration of fees shall be made.

Section 2. That Section 33-256 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended to read as follows:
Sec. 33-256. Vehicle storage facilities, vehicle retention.

(a)   All wrecker services shall provide sufficient off street parking in a secure lot to accommodate all vehicles to which they render and intend to render service. No wrecker service shall permit vehicles to which they render or intend to render service to be parked on any street. Each wrecker service shall store vehicles at one storage lot only and that storage lot shall be located in the city of Duluth. No storage lot shall be used by more than one wrecker service. All storage lots shall provide reasonable security for vehicles, shall be maintained in an orderly manner and kept free of unnecessary debris, and shall be designed and surfaced for proper drainage so that the storage area is reasonably free of mud;.  If requested by the police, a vehicle shall be stored in an enclosed building with heat, electricity and a concrete or paved floor.

(b)  All vehicles towed to a storage area shall be retained in storage for at least 30 days unless they are claimed sooner by the owner or lawful possessor of the vehicle or the owner or possessor's agent.

Section 3. That Section 33-259 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended to read as follows:
Sec. 33-259. Emergency wrecker service.

An emergency wrecker service shall provide the following minimum services:

(a)  Such service shall provide services with a wrecker or wreckers which meet the requirements of sections 33-257(a) and (c) and, where relevant, Section 33-257(b) of this Article;

(b)  Such service shall provide 24 hour a day, seven day a week service;

(c)  Such service shall come at all times when summoned by the chief of police to remove a disabled vehicle and, when summoned, shall remove such vehicle on all occasions;

(d)  Such service's vehicles shall arrive at the scene of a disabled vehicle when summoned by the chief of police within a reasonable time after being summoned, such time not to exceed 20 minutes;

(e)  Such services shall, upon the request of any peace officer, store any vehicle inside a building which is reasonably weatherproof and secure for as long as is necessary to complete any police investigation of such vehicle;

(f)  If the chief of police directs that any vehicle be towed to any location other than a storage location normally used by the wrecker service providing such service, such wrecker service shall deposit such vehicle as directed; provided that if services provided pursuant to such direction would justify additional charges under this Article, the chief of police shall pay such charges;

(g)  When summoned by the chief of police, the maximum fee for services rendered shall be as follows:

(1)  $55$70 for all towing of disabled vehicles from one location in the city to another, or to a lot maintained outside the city by the service;

(2)  $20 additional when the vehicle requires dollying; or a flat bed wrecker or when a flat bed wrecker is requested by the police;

(3)  $60 per hour for towing a vehicle which requires heavy duty wrecker equipment from one location in the city to another, or to the service's lot maintained outside of the city;

(4)  $10$12 per each 24 hours day for inside storage of towed vehicles;

(5)  $8 per 24 hour day for outside storage of towed vehicles; If the vehicle to be towed is off of the roadway and requires more than 20 feet of winching, $17.50 for each 15 minutes that the wrecker's winch is in operation;

(h)  If service is requested to furnish services outside of the zone or zones for which it is on the rotation list referred to in paragraphs (b) and (c) of Section 33-261 below, or, if the service provided necessitates the winching of a vehicle more than 30 feet, said service is authorized to charge fees up to 20 percent in excess of those provided for in subparagraphs (1) and (3) above;

(i) (h)  Licensee shall, if requested, return disabled vehicles to their rightful claimants 24 hours per day, seven days per week on at least an on-call basis;

(j) (i)  No fees shall be charged if a licensee tows a vehicle from one location to another for its own purposes;

(k) (j)  In the event that the chief of police deems it reasonably necessary in his sole discretion to use more than one wrecker vehicle to safely provide required emergency wrecker service to a disabled vehicle, he may authorize said use in which case the effected service may charge up to the maximum rates set forth above for each authorized wrecker vehicle used.

Section 4. That this ordinance shall take effect and be in force 30 days from and after its passage and publication.

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:   This ordinance changes some of the regulations for the towing industry in Duluth.  It increases the license fee from $200 to $350 to adequately compensate the city for maintaining its wrecker dispatch system.  It also requires Minnesota highway patrol inspection certificates for each wrecker (the city used to inspect them).  It requires vehicles to be stored in heated buildings with electricity and a hard floor if required by the police (this is important where the vehicle is a crime scene).  Finally, it increases the fees wreckers can charge.  These fees have not been increased since 1993.