Cold cash

Categories: St. Paul

Towing companies set to further filch St. Paul parking violators

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This winter has so far been kind to parking scofflaws. More than two months into the frozen season we're yet to see a single substantial snowfall. Consequentially we're also yet to endure the uniquely Minnesotan brand of torment known as a snow emergency.


Global warming aside, it's inevitable that at some point this winter enough snow will fall to trigger such a declaration. And when this happens those hapless souls in St. Paul who run afoul of the city's parking strictures will pay a much steeper price to re-claim their vehicles from the impound lot. Tomorrow the St. Paul City Council is slated to approve a resolution increasing the impound lot fee by $23.67, to a total of $123.07. In other words a jump of 23.8 percent. The fee increase will take effect on January 1.

St. Paul's towing contract is subject to an annual competitive bidding process. So any fears that the city might be attempting to balance the municipal books on the backs of parking scofflaws are unwarranted. City Council president Kathy Lantry speculates that the jump is due to spiraling gas prices. "They probably didn't make a dime," she says of the last contract period. "They're probably trying to make up for it now."

Despite this massive increase St. Paul still can't quite compete with Minneapolis. Snow emergency violators on the other side of the Mississippi are charged $138 for the privilege of having their vehicles towed. Then, of course, there's the $34 fine for violating the law. It's a wonder we don't have more homicides at the impound lot.



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