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Council approves increase in city towing fees
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Make sure to feed those meters - getting towed will become more expensive in Turlock, following Turlock City Council action Tuesday evening.
Maximum allowable towing fees will increase 20-30 percent across the board, bringing Turlock's towing charge in line with neighboring cities.
"We found that the fees currently authorized by the City of Turlock were below average," said Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson.
Towing will now cost $185 for the first hour, with a $45 charge for each 15 minutes thereafter. A further $50 per day storage fee will now be charged, as well as a $55 gate fee for non-business hour pickups.
Turlock's towing fees had not been updated since February 2009.
The council reviewed the fees upon the request of local tow providers, who said Turlock's fees had not increased in line with their own costs, primarily that of diesel fuel.
"The tow trucks only receive 7 miles to the gallon," said Dwayne Thompson of Anderson's Tow. "It is increasingly expensive to move the trucks."
Diesel fuel is now over $4.20 per gallon, about 75 cents per gallon higher than the previous two-year average. Thompson said he expects diesel fuel to hit $5 per gallon by summer.
Jackson said the City of Turlock's independent review of fees agreed with the tow providers' argument that a fee raise was justified due to increasing fuel and operation costs.
Turlock City Council members unanimously approved the fee increase without discussion.

Council steps back on legislative platform
The Turlock City Council on Tuesday declined to approve a comprehensive legislative platform for the City of Turlock.
The platform, drafted in response to council requests that the city become more active in lobbying state and federal governments to ensure Turlock's future, was universally criticized by council members for being too detailed. That detail could possibly tie the city's hands, should bills change in the future.
"My concern is that it's really, really, really detailed," said Councilman Forrest White of the bill-by-bill platform. "In some respects it's great for staff that they can look to it, but in some cases, if something comes up that isn't on here, we don't have an overarching plan that allows them to use their own judgment."
City staff will use the platform as an internal guideline document moving forward, but a more general plan will be drafted. Turlock City Council members will also receive weekly updates on bills of interest, so as to take a more active role in lobbying.

On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council also:
• Learned that the Turlock Farmers Market will open for the year on May 4.
• Heard that the city's low-income housing project, Avena Bella, has completed escrow and received encroachment and grading permits. Dirt will begin moving within the next two weeks at the 500 Linwood development, which will be home to 80 units.
A formal groundbreaking ceremony will be held in the next month, with units opening to occupants in July 2013.
• Learned that the Turlock Police Department records counter will be closed to the public on Friday mornings, so records staff has time to catch up with a backlog of work. A volunteer will staff the Police Department front desk during that time.
Once staff are caught up on backlogged work, desk hours will return to their previous schedule.
• Met as the Turlock Redevelopment Successor Agency, finalizing a list of outstanding debts and a payment plan to pay off those debts, pursuant to state law.
• Authorized the creation of a new executive administrative assistant position in the Municipal Services department. The position replaces a supervising secretary post, recently vacated through retirement.
• Heard a League of California Cities report on 2011 state legislation which most affects cities, legislators' voting records, and the results of league lobbying.
• Issued proclamations in honor of Go Green Week, from March 5-9, and Lemonade Day, May 19.
• Held off on appointing a Successor Agency Oversight Board General and a former RDA Employee to that board. This was the second consecutive meeting the Turlock City Council delayed making those appointments.