If you’re prone to leaving your car
where it doesn’t belong, listen up. The
Tempe City Council is poised to more
than double the rate it allows towing
companies to charge for abandoned and
illegally parked vehicles in the city.
If the council accepts the
recommendations, presented Aug. 17 by an
ad hoc towing committee, the current $50
standard fee and $75 night, weekend and
holiday fee would become a flat $120.
An existing $25 drop fee, assessed to a
driver who returns to his vehicle before
it has been moved, will be eliminated
and the $5 per day storage fee now in
effect will be raised to $15, with the
first 24 hours free.
It was a standard fee schedule when it
was established in 1982, but is today
significantly lower than the fees in
nearby cities, making it difficult for
towing companies to make money in Tempe.
The city of Phoenix charges a total of
$117 in fees, according to the
The committee also noted that Tempe’s
rates adjusted for inflation would put
the standard towing rate at $127.
The official change is still a few weeks
off. The towing committee will modify
its proposal based on the Council’s
advice and return with a final
recommendation for the council’s
The committee recommended increasing the
size and visibility of warning signs,
but the council still had concerns.
Council members noted that parking lots
where the spaces are owned by different
stores in a strip mall sometimes employ
differing policies for the use of their
designated spaces within the same lot.
Councilmember Ben Arredondo asked for
clearer differentiation of signage to
make it clear which spots face which
He also expressed concern that the
proposed price increase would be too
high and that the new rules will
discourage safe behavior, particularly
among north Tempe’s young population
which is comprised largely of students
attending Arizona State University.
“If students leave their cars (at the
bar) and don’t drink and drive, and
their car gets towed, they’ll be
discouraged from calling a cab next
time,” he said.