San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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September 5th, 2008
New wrecker fees approved

New Wrecker Fees ApprovedThe San Marcos City Council approved new wrecker service fees and tightened up on what fees may be charged by wrecker companies at its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 2. The fee schedule sets maximum rates that local wrecker companies may charge for police-authorized tows, non-consent tows, waiting time, winching fees, clean up, show up fees and drop fees. The fee increases include:

  Non-Consent tows from private property – from $60 to $75.
  Police authorized tow (non-collision) from $70 to $150 flat fee.
  Police authorized tow involving collision – from $95 to $150.
  Additional collision fees:
    Dollies – $50.
    Winching – $50 per 1/2 hour of labor
    Wait Time – $50 per 1/2 hour (after the first 1/2 hour)
    Extraordinary Labor – $50 per 1/2 hour
    Show up fee:  $50
    Drop fee:  $50 (wreckers may not charge both show up and drop fees)

The San Marcos Police Department conducted a towing fee study comparing local fees to those charged in Austin, San Antonio, Lockhart, New Braunfels, Luling and Seguin. In most categories, the San Marcos fees were lower than other cities. The new fees will take effect immediately upon publication in the local newspaper on September 9. The City Council will consider ordinance amendments that address towing practices at a future meeting.

By MELISSA MILLECAM
Communications Director – City of San Marcos

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0 thoughts on “New wrecker fees approved

  1. Seriously? This town has got to get a grip on towing.. Geez they get enough money by doing their little ddive by’s at night. We have some selfish property owners who can;t phathom having another human being chanrging peopel to park on their property and clean the parking lot etc. Austin has this down to a tea. How selfish of the towing companies and what a rip off to our residents. It takes no time to hitch up a car a drag it away before you return for the next one. We all know this we just wonder what the underlying factor is for this?? what kind of deals are they making here?

  2. Well rainbow….I can’t agree with the increase of fees. However students need to get a grip on mass transit. I know it isn’t always students but when you get 28k more people ( all seem to own a vehicle) in a city built for 38k you see what happens. My advice to you is, if you’re a student use the bus or don’t park where your not supposed to. And if your just a violater of parking then I guess you have been warned. There is never really any problems when TX St is not in session. Go figure.

  3. don’t think you are right, McQuin, there is ALWAYS a problem with the predatory towing in San Marcos. It’s just that most full time residents know it’s better not to shop in the central business district and head for the other areas of town where parking is not a problem! Perhaps one day the businesses downtown will grow up and realize the loss of business due to these roaming preditors called towtrucks!

  4. I shop downtown regularly and have never been towed. In fact I find the whole parking concern in downtown to be over-blown. I park in various downtowns all the time and we’re better or at least no worse than any other downtown. All this is about students thinking they’re above the law and parking in Nelson Center. If the city comes to the “rescue” of the students in any way it will be pathetic. I remember back at UT drinking at the Showdown and parking at Jack in the Box. Sam thing. Students did it all the time and sometimes they would get towed and want to blame someone. Well guess what – they have no one to blame but themselves. I was at Nelson Center today and it could not be more clearly signed. Park illegally and get your butt towed.

  5. Remove the cloud of Fog Apache. If it wasn’t for the students at the university YOUR tax’s would be WAY higher!
    The revenue from these great citizens, and the entire university staff {one of the largest employers in this city by the way} keeps all of us, including YOU, from paying much more in tax’s to enjoy the quality community we have here.

  6. Maybe you should enroll at TxState and learn the difference between plural and possesive. (It’s taxes, not tax’s, and those smiley lines people use sometimes are called parentheses.) I don’t like being the grammar nazi but hey, sometimes it’s just too much fun. Furthermore I don’t think you can support your argument. What if all that real estate were on the tax rolls? What would that do to my tax bill? That’s all moot regardless. No one’s contributions put them above the law or above common decency. When I’m trying to duck in for my $5 haircut I want to be able to find a parking space. Since I don’t get towed I’m glad they raised the rates. When the pain gets communicated to the powers that be at the University maybe they’ll provide adequate parking for the students and faculty.

  7. Actually, there’s generally plenty of parking on campus, it’s just that people are too lazy to walk across campus. The lot between Strahan and the football stadium hasn’t been more than half full since they moved the bus stop out to the next lot. Get out of your cars. Walk. Ride a bike. Take the bus. It’s really simple.

  8. Stan not sure what you mean by ‘Predatory towing’? I’ve never been towed because I don’t park where I’m not supposed to. Maybe you should do the same. And Daniel if all TXST property were included in the tax rolls I think my taxes would be the same if not lower. Regardless the deal is done with city so don’t park in tow zones or pay the price.

  9. It is hard to say what taxes would be like if all of that property was taxed, or if the students were gone. To be sure, with 20% of our economy and probably 40-50% of our population (if you factor in students who stay after graduation) also gone, the city would be significantly different.

    I can’t say that I know who is being towed, or why they are parking illegally, but as with most generalizations, it is almost certainly inaccurate to blame only the students. The downtown businesses love to complain about the lack of parking, but the *unused* off-street parking owned by those businesses far outnumbers the parking spaces on the streets.

    Similarly, the non-student, non-business owner citizens have our share of responsibility as I’m sure there are plenty of us parking illegally and I have not seen a huge movement to demand a solution to the problem until very recently and even this movement is relatively small and isn’t pushing for anything earth shattering, like more comprehensive public transit, parking garages, metered parking, etc (at least not that I have seen). Even if that movement does exist, how long have we lived with this parking problem? 20 years or more? Surely we all have some responsibility.

    The bigger issue here, is the ongoing lack of collaboration and cooperation between the university and the city and the mentality that either one would be better off without the other. The whole “we are the local economy” argument from some of the university and students, like Daniel, is not only inaccurate, but offensive and divisive.

    It brings to mind the villains in The Quick and the Dead, Open Range, any A-Team episode or countless other variations on the same “I own this town” cliché. I doubt that is the image that the university or the students want to portray. The same goes for the city in many, many cases.

    We’re all adults here. After more than 100 years of living together, can’t we do a little better than this?

  10. Wow Daniel,
    Quite defensive aren’t we? Thank you Ted for always clearing things up.. Seriously. Carts does privide a means of transportaion but they close at 7 p.m. Now if they stayed open till after the bars closed then what? The students would be giving more to the city. I mean come on we have like two taxis running in this town at one time because they also cater to New Braunfels and half the time they are there or running to the airport. Again they do the best they can do but it isn;t good enough! I still believe the owners of businesses surrounding the square etc, cannot phatom giving someone a job to take care of their parking lot and earning more cash? what is the problem here? Peopel are going to litter, well the person charging can be provided trash bags and gloves and pick it up. Someone may break into your store? Well this could happen regardless and with fewer cars parking there makes it even more likely to happen.. People peeing there? Who cares?

  11. I have been towed myself but I don’t blame the owners of parking lots. What a shock it was to return to not car. I suspect if they didn’t tow there would be “predatory” parking. Why pay for University parking sticker if some merchant like HEB has plenty of free parking closer to class? I have often had trouble finding parking downtown and as a result shop there less often. I have even seen backpack toting students park in front of the Post Office and head up to class. This is really an issue that could have been solved years ago if the University and City officials cooperated on enforcement and education. As it is, I have spoke to students who think it is their right to park on downtown streets and walk up to a morning of classes. How did they get that idea?

  12. Enforcement and education is one option. Another might be limiting who can bring cars to campus. Yet another might be more parking, offered by the city, the university or both and better locations for that parking.

    The university is doing a lot of work and has been for years, tearing up parking lots, tearing down dorms, putting up new dorms, putting up parking garages, etc. Has anyone ever considered a parking garage over in the JCK area, where Sterry and Falls Halls are, perhaps? That is, after all, the area where most of the “predatory towing” seems to take place.

    Or, what about the vacant lot where El Arroyo once sat? I’ve heard talk of a retail center there (will it have parking?), but why not a parking garage? Who owns the land? Was it/is it available? Could the city or the university put a garage there?

    Both of these locations would provide close-in parking for the university and might actually make it easier to shop at Nelson Center as well as other shops north of the square.

    Instead, we get the university building garages along one of the worst roads in town (Sessom/Academy), inviting more traffic to cut through neighborhood streets and the city “planning” for years to build a garage on Guadalupe and Hutchison, sometime after the fire department relocates.

  13. None of this is to say that any of these ideas are without problems, or that any of them is even the right answer.

    The question is, if there are 30,000 people trying to get to campus and many of them are parking off campus, when will the city and the university get together and figure out how to make it work?

    The university seems to have limited interest in what happens off campus and the city appears reluctant to acknowledge that for all practical purposes, our population is not 50,000, but closer to 70,000 and nearly half of those 70,000 have one common destination and significant problems getting there.

    I’ve added remote lots and shuttles to the TAB agenda as a discussion item for this month and will update that to include close-in parking. I would encourage anyone with any ideas to come forward. I do not believe the problem can be solved with more towing, or with less towing. The problem needs to be solved with parking that works for the people in the city.

  14. As an interesting side note, I would mention that the last time I checked (12 years ago) the university refused to release my transcripts because of unpaid parking tickets.

    It never occured to me to park downtown when there was always faculty parking handy, or a hall advisor’s spot.

    This problem is not new and it isn’t going to get any better without some work.

  15. What about the lot(s) behind Sean Patricks,100blk S LBJ? Rumor is apartments are going up? It seems to me that would be an idea place for a 2 or 3 story garage. What about where the farmers mkt is, another idea place? Out of site but close enough to walk to town. Anyone know who owns these properties? This is idea for business owners and employees, then tourists and then students. No over night parking or be towed that kind of thing.

  16. The campus master plan has a garage going in between JCK and Freeman. I don’t know when they are supposed to start working in it, but that’s the plan. Personally, I’d like to see them save the trees there and build it across the street as Sessom and Peques.

    I have the feeling that a larger than normal percentage of students commute. I know a lot of students who live in Austin and San Antonio.

    Again, we need to get students out of their cars and onto foot and bike. This campus is the least bike friendly campus I’ve been around.

  17. Sadly all the garages planned or under construction don’t result in an increase in parking spaces. The freed up land will be either left for green space of used for new buildings. Ted, since you asked for suggestions, here’s one. Have the University purchase the south east corner of Aquarena and I-35 (behind Sac-n-Pac) to use for a remote lot. The goal would be to get cars off Aquarena which is surely one of the most over-burdened roads in town. Another idea would be to increase the left turn lanes from one to two on Aquarena turning left onto the I-35 frontage road. Currently there are two lanes for going straight and one for left turns. The center lane could be a straight/left combo.

  18. Actually, we’ve tried to get the extra left turn lane on Aquarena, but TXDOT says that the traffic volume does not justify it. I have not been in those conversations directly, so I do not know all of the details, but I suspect that we don’t fully appreciate/communicate our traffic patterns.

    A remote lot at the end of Aquarena, or even out by Yarrington is on the agenda for discussion this month.

    You are correct that there are no additional spaces from the garages being built, or at least that is what the university has communicated to us.

    I do see a garage at LBJ and University, which would be great. I am not sure when/if this is going to be built, though. The master plan only identifies it as being planned for the next 10 years and I suspect their 10-year plan is fluid in the same way that the San Marcos 10-year plan is fluid. The last I heard, some of the garages were on hold indefinitely and I believe those were garages that were to be built before the one on University.

    Either way, these issues can’t really wait 10+ years and shifting parking around, with no net gain and building four of the five proposed garages along Sessom/Academy is not a recipe for success unless there are additional improvements (a center turn lane, at a minimum) to those two streets. This, of course, becomes very difficult when the university builds right up to the road and when the city makes little apparent effort to secure right of way.

    If the university does not want to add more spaces, the city can do so and can charge people who use them. We can also focus more of our transportation improvements in areas impacted by the traffic flow around the university. This includes widening of arteries surrounding the school, as well as things like connecting University to RR12, maybe widening 12 between Holland and Hopkins (or wherever University might connect), etc.

    Metered parking, paid parking in garages and a little more traffic enforcement could ease the problems a little in the near-term and also offset some of the cost of implementing these improvements.

    Here’s the university master plan, for anyone interested.

    http://www.vpfss.txstate.edu/cmp/final/10.19.05_TSSM-Book-03FinalPlan.pdf

  19. In case you haven’t heard, the city has approved some new development downtown, at LBJ and Concho. It was approved over the objections of the Downtown Association, the Main Street Advisory Board and the interim Planning Director, all of whom objected to the fact that the development has a little over half the parking spaces required by the city’s lande development code.

    So, if you’re unhappy about the traffic and parking in San Marcos, here’s something more to stew over.

    When are we going to build some parking and some new roads to alleviate the issues we have been dealing with for DECADES?

  20. What good is our code if we do not follow it on something this important? Does the code need fixing or is there some form of favoritism at play here? I hope our city leadership can properly explain their decision?

  21. Downtown master plan? Come on people we acnt figure it out yet? Behind Sean Patricks, parking garage, three stories. Can someone explain why that would be difficult and what the remedy would be if it is considered difficult? How much are we spending again on this year after year after year after year on this master plan and parking spaces? How many consultants do we need? Are we using the same consulting firm every year to consult us on where to build a parking garage and what to do with downtown? Again how much yearly?

  22. I suggest that before we go to the expense of building a parking garage we bite the bullet and install parking meters. I know that won’t be popular with all of us who are used to parking free but we have got to get spending under control in this city. Parking garages are very expensive to build. From what I hear, students park in the downtown spots and if they get tickets they throw them away. Store employees probably park in the free spots rather than walk from a remote lot. There are a few options that should be explored before spending big bucks on a garage.

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