News: Gongora Justifies Vote to Hike Tow Fees But Firms Need to be More Accountable

Greater accountability will need to be forthcoming from the two tow companies that work within Miami Beach, says a city commissioner who voted to grant them a controversial rate hike last week.

Michael Gongora said that his vote approving an average $36 increase in tow charges for non-residents deviated from his political philosophy.

“In general, I am opposed to increased taxes and additional financial burdens being placed on our residents,” Gongora told constituents in a newsletter on Friday. “While no one really likes towing, we must remember that towing is a penalty that is designed to prevent vehicles from parking improperly – often usurping scarce residential parking.”

As a result of the City Commission’s 4-3 split vote, Beach Towing and Tremont Towing get to take a bigger bite out of out-of-towners’ pockets. But the city insisted upon no rate hikes on residential tows and forgiveness of tow fees for residents under certain circumstances.

“This is a major step forward for Beach residents,” Gongora described it.

The city last granted a rate hike to the tow companies in 2004.

“In order to eliminate towing horror stories,” Gongora added, the city will now require Beach and Tremont employees to wear uniforms and submit to drug tests and driver’s license screenings. Tow trucks will have to sport GPS tracking devices.

Additionally, Gongora said the tow companies will have to provide “better accountability of [their] profits before we ever consider this issue again.”

“It is my hope that these enhancements make towing a more transparent and less onerous experience in Miami Beach,” Gongora concluded.

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