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PROVO — Provo's mayor says predatory towing of vehicles within the city limits is a problem, and the city council plans to discuss possible solutions.
Mayor John Curtis posted a blog Monday titled "We're getting carried away here." Within hours of his post, comments were pouring in. More than 100 people expressed dislike for the situation. The page got tens of thousands of views in one day.
The mayor wrote: "Simmering under the surface is a Provo problem that has been bugging me for years. That is the twin evils of booting and towing. I've heard enough to believe that some (not all) booting and towing companies are predatory in nature and take advantage of students and visitors."
He added, "To be clear, this does not include legitimate companies that offer towing services. I'm talking about those bad guys who lurk around waiting to jump on a vehicle left 30 seconds to run a plate of brownies to a sick friend. Instead of finding a $15 parking ticket (the drivers) find their car across town with a bill over $250."
This does not include legitimate companies that offer towing services. I'm talking about those bad guys who lurk around waiting to jump on a vehicle left 30 seconds to run a plate of brownies to a sick friend.
–Mayor John Curtis
Mayor Curtis says the legislature set a base fee of $140, but some towing companies add charges like gasoline and storage costs.
"My guess is the legitimate ones want these folks reigned in as much as everyone else," Mayor Curtis told KSL. "It's making them look bad and it's not good for their business. My guess is we'll find the good towing companies will be right there supporting us, finding answers. The ones that are causing the problem may push back. Bring it on."
One of the residents who responded to the mayor's blog, Melissa King, wrote about being dropped off from a date in December. She said by the time her date walked her to the door, his car was being towed.
Several band members wrote about playing shows at Provo venues. They said as they unloaded their band equipment, their vans or trucks were booted.
John Fogg wrote, "I had my van booted while it was still open, running and occupied (by my kids) while I was loading in the last armful of gear for a show."
- A discussion regarding automobile towing policies, limit of companies on non-consensual police towing list, and requirement that local lots maintain minimum staffing levels.
- A discussion on state of Utah regulations relative to automobile towing.
The city council is expected to discuss the issue during a work meeting this afternoon. The talk may include discussion on towing policies and the requirement that local towing lots maintain minimum staffing levels. Council members also will discuss Utah regulations about towing.
One of the companies listed in at least 25 of the complaints on the mayor's blog is University Parking Enforcement — one of the largest towing companies in Provo.
We spoke with the owner, Michael Lamont about this issue and he said his company is following all city and state laws. Lamont will be attending the city council work meeting this afternoon.
The mayor recognizes the issue may need to be addressed legislatively.