City of Absecon, NJ
Atlantic County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 320-1 Definitions.

[1997 Code § 320-1]
As used in this Article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
TOWER
Any towing firm, individual or company who or which is in the business of towing vehicles from private property in an agreement or contract with the owner or operator of a private lot, facility or property. This definition does not include towers who tow vehicles at the request of the vehicle owner, such as a service station, garage or other like tower.

§ 320-2 Storage facilities; responsibilities of tower.

[1997 Code § 320-2]
A. 
All private towers shall be required to maintain a storage lot or facility for all vehicles towed which shall be located within seven miles of the boundaries of the City of Absecon City.
B. 
Each tower shall maintain at the storage facility:
(1) 
A log or entry book for recording each vehicle being towed.
(2) 
A copy of each contract authorizing towing services.
(3) 
A copy of the towed vehicle report.
C. 
Each storage facility shall be staffed by a responsible person 24 hours every day while vehicles are being stored or have a responsible person on call.
D. 
Each tower shall be responsible for towing damages while providing towing services.
E. 
After a vehicle has been stored at a towing storage facility for a period of seven days, the tower may tow the vehicle to another facility in Atlantic County, provided that the Absecon City Communications Department has been notified as to the date and time of the removal and to what location the vehicle is being moved.
F. 
It shall be the responsibility of the tower, after at least 48 hours from the time that a vehicle has been impounded, to send a written request to the Motor Vehicle Commission in the State where the vehicle is registered for a certified copy of the registration for the motor vehicle which has been towed.
G. 
Within 48 hours after this information has been received from the Motor Vehicle Commission, it is the responsibility of the tower to notify the vehicle owner of the circumstances surrounding the towing and the charges and fees incurred. The fee for the inquiry to the Motor Vehicle Commission may be added to the fees and charges already outstanding for the initial towing and storage.

§ 320-3 License.

[1997 Code § 320-3]
A. 
Each tower shall maintain a valid mercantile license, which shall be prominently displayed at the storage lot or facility.
B. 
A copy of the mercantile license shall be kept in the tow vehicle at all times and must be presented upon demand.
C. 
No mercantile license shall be issued until the following conditions have been met:
(1) 
Certificates of insurance showing public liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 and property damage insurance in the amount of $200,000.

§ 320-4 Warning signs.

[1997 Code § 320-4]
A. 
Warning signs shall be sized in accordance with the following:
(1) 
The size of warning signs shall be a minimum of two by three feet and six square feet in area and a maximum of three by five feet and 15 square feet in area.
B. 
Warning signs shall be conspicuously located, to be visible to any entrance to any parking lot, and shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The name of the tower or towing firm.
(2) 
The twenty-four-hour monitored telephone number.
(3) 
The address or location of the storage lot or facility.
(4) 
The words "unauthorized vehicles will be towed."
(5) 
The towing fee which will be charged to the owner of the towed vehicle.
C. 
A minimum of two signs, as herein described, shall be provided in each private parking lot from which towing will be done.

§ 320-5 Towed vehicle report.

[1997 Code § 320-5]
A. 
Each vehicle to be towed must be inspected by the tower prior to towing for existing damage and a towed vehicle report filled out before the vehicle is removed from its place. The report shall describe the existing damage to the vehicle and shall be kept at the towing storage facility for inspection by any interested party.
B. 
After a vehicle has been hooked and lifted but before it has been removed from its original place, a report shall be made with the Absecon City Communications Department by the tower. The report shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The make, year and color of the vehicle.
(2) 
The registration number.
(3) 
The exact address of the facility to which the vehicle is being towed.
(4) 
A statement as to why the vehicle is being towed.
(5) 
The name of the tow truck operator and the tower.
C. 
No vehicle shall be removed from its original place by any tower until it has been established by the Communications Department that said vehicle is not a stolen vehicle or one which has been used in the commission of a crime.
(1) 
Should a vehicle be found to be stolen or wanted in connection with the commission of any crime, the Absecon City Police Department shall be dispatched to the location and shall maintain control and custody of the vehicle and the location to ensure the preservation of evidence.
(2) 
Should the NCIC/SCIC computers be down, the Communications Department shall authorize the towing of the vehicle and again check with NCIC/SCIC within 24 hours. If the vehicle is found to be stolen or otherwise wanted, the tower shall surrender the vehicle to the care, custody and control of the Absecon City Police Department at no charge.
D. 
No vehicle shall be moved by a tower without the authorization of the Absecon City Communications Department.

§ 320-6 Fees and charges.

[1997 Code § 320-6]
A. 
If the vehicle has not been lifted prior to the owner's return to the lot, whether it is hooked up or not, it is to be released by the tower at no charge.
B. 
If the vehicle has been lifted but not removed from the lot prior to the owner's return to the lot, a fee of not more than 50% of the authorized towing service fee, as indicated on the warning signs for the lot, may be imposed for the release of said vehicle.
C. 
Any vehicle which has been towed from the parking lot, regardless of how far, before the owner's arrival may be assessed the full amount of the authorized towing fee.
D. 
The maximum fee which can be charged for the towing of any vehicle from private property by a tower shall be as follows:
(1) 
For cars, vans and other passenger vehicles, including pickup trucks and other lightweight trucks having a gross vehicle weight of 6,000 pounds, the maximum allowable shall be $75.
(2) 
For trucks, mobile homes and other vehicles greater than 6,000 pounds, the maximum allowable shall be $100.
E. 
Storage charges. There shall be a maximum charge for the storage of towed vehicles after the first 24 hours of $8 per day, up to and including the first 14 days. From the eleventh day and until release, there shall be a maximum charge of $2 per day.

§ 320-7 Release of vehicles.

[1997 Code § 320-7]
A. 
No vehicle shall be released from the storage facility without the tower first obtaining proper identification from the person claiming the towed vehicle.
B. 
A receipt for the towing service shall be provided, which shall show the following:
(1) 
Towing service name, address and telephone number.
(2) 
Signature of the agent releasing the vehicle.
(3) 
Signature of the person claiming the vehicle.
(4) 
All fees and charges.
C. 
If a vehicle is towed in violation of any section of this article, the vehicle is to be released at no cost for towing or storage.

§ 320-8 Tow vehicles.

[1997 Code § 320-8]
A. 
All tow trucks shall have the name of the registered owner, address and telephone number painted or permanently attached to both sides of the vehicle.
B. 
All tow trucks shall be equipped with a rotary or flashing amber light, approved-type fire extinguishers and road flares.

§ 320-9 Mercantile license fees.

[1997 Code § 320-9]
The mercantile license fees are as follows:
A. 
Licensed towing company/operator: $300.
B. 
Licensed storage facility within the City of Absecon City: $300.

§ 320-10 Violations and penalties; hearings.

[1997 Code § 320-10]
A. 
When a violation of this Article occurs, the violator may be fined and/or have his mercantile license suspended or revoked, according to the penalties set forth in this Article. For purposes of determining suspension or revocation of the mercantile license of any tower, the City Council shall hear all such cases upon recommendation of the Administrator. The Administrator shall be responsible for the notification of the tower of such recommendation and notice of charges against him. The tower shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard before the City Council and respond to all charges before the decision of City Council is made.
B. 
Failure of any person, company, corporation or organization to comply with the requirements of this Article shall, upon conviction in municipal court, be punished by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500. Each day's failure to comply with these provisions shall constitute a separate violation.

§ 320-11 Wreckers.

[1997 Code § 320-11]
A. 
Wreckers used by the vendor must be of such construction that they will be able to tow any type of vehicle and must be found to be satisfactory by the City of Absecon City.
B. 
In cases of emergency, the City reserves the right to request any available vendor.
C. 
Vendors shall provide each vehicle with a shovel, broom and any other equipment necessary to clean up broken glass, fluids and debris from the scene of an accident to which they are called before leaving scene.
D. 
Wreckers shall be maintained in good condition, to include compliance with all provisions of N.J.S.A. Title 39, and be available 24 hours a day and shall be suitably identified on each side with the name and address of the vendor.
E. 
The vendor must have a minimum of two wreckers, at least one to be a flatbed.
F. 
The vendor shall submit proof of ownership by recorded title of the required number of wreckers necessary to meet the City's requirements.
G. 
All wreckers shall have communications with their respective office or cellular telephones with numbers provided to the Absecon Communications Department.

§ 320-12 Storage area.

[1997 Code § 320-12]
The vendor must show proof that he owns or can lease a minimum storage area of at least 10,000 square feet.
A. 
If the vendor is the owner in fee of the required storage area, he is to submit with his application a certified copy of the deed for the land, together with a survey of the land.
B. 
If the vendor has a lease for the required storage area, he is to submit with his application a copy of the lease containing a legal description, together with a copy of the survey of the land. The lease must extend to at least six months after the termination of the contract.
C. 
If the vendor has an option to lease the required storage area, he is to submit with his application a copy of the option agreement containing a legal description, together with a copy of the survey of the land. The lease must extend to at least six months after the termination of the contract.
D. 
The deed, lease or option to lease and survey shall be approved as to form and legality by the City Attorney and the survey approved by the City Engineer.
E. 
The survey or surveys hereinabove required shall have set forth thereon a certification by the surveyor to the City as to the square footage within the storage area as surveyed.
F. 
Land used for storage of vehicles must be in an area within 3 1/2 miles of the boundaries of the City of Absecon City, must be zoned for such use and meet all applicable municipal codes. In addition, it must be in an area reasonably accessible to the public, so that stored automobiles may be claimed.
G. 
No towed vehicle may be parked upon the public street, but it must be stored by the vendor within the storage area as hereinabove described.
H. 
The entire land area must be enclosed by a fence of sturdy construction at least six feet in height and adequately lit at night to prevent vandalism.

§ 320-13 Vendor's qualifications.

[1997 Code § 320-13]
A. 
Any person, company or corporation applying for a contract must have at least five years' experience as sole operator or as an employee in the towing of vehicles and vehicle storage in order to be considered for a contract. A vendor must be approved by the Chief of Police before a contract will be awarded.
B. 
A background check will be made by the Police Department of the successful vendor, his employees or officers, and a conviction for a crime will disqualify a vendor unless waived by the City Council upon application and good cause shown.

§ 320-14 Employees; inspections; complaints; false information.

[1997 Code § 320-14]
A. 
The vendor shall have sufficient number of employees available to comply with the minimum operational requirements. The vendor must indicate in his application the number of employees who will be on the day shift and the number assigned to the night shift, seven days a week.
B. 
No person shall be employed by the vendor unless he has obtained a records check and has been approved by the Chief of Police.
C. 
All drivers of the vendor shall be over the age of 18 years and must have a valid, current New Jersey State driver's license with no restrictions or conditional endorsements, except a condition requiring glasses, and shall be in good health and of high moral character.
D. 
The vendor shall, at the time of application, submit to the City the names and addresses of all proposed drivers and employees who will be rendering service under this contract on behalf of the vendor. This information will be kept current to the Chief of Police by the vendor.
E. 
The service, equipment and personnel are subject to periodic inspections and approval by the Police Department. The City reserves the right to have a qualified person or agency make such inspections.
F. 
Complaints of any kind relative to service, overcharging, theft of parts, damage to towed or stored vehicles, discourteous treatment and the like shall be referred to the Chief of Police for investigation and recommendations to the City Administrator, if necessary. Such complaints may be cause for termination of the contract by the City Council.
G. 
Falsifying application. Any misstatement of fact as to qualifications of the vendor, his employees or any condition under this contract will result in termination of the vendor's services with the City and subject the vendor to appropriate civil and criminal penalties.

§ 320-15 Removing abandoned vehicles.

[1997 Code § 320-15]
A. 
An abandoned vehicle is considered to be a vehicle of any size, in any condition, abandoned anywhere within the City limits upon any City street or public right-of-way, public easement, public alley, avenue, thoroughfare or public or quasi-public places, including public parks and playgrounds.
B. 
An abandoned vehicle, as defined by N.J.S.A. Title 39 or Chapter 326, Abandoned Vehicles, will be removed under the direction and supervision of the Police Department on a twenty-four-hour-a-day basis, and all calls shall be answered within 10 minutes from time of notification under normal conditions, seven days a week, anywhere within the City limits, unless the Police Department determines that the vehicle is not a threat to vehicle traffic or persons and could be removed during business hours.
C. 
As to those vehicles which are designated as abandoned by the Absecon Police Department, they will be towed without charge to the City to a storage lot owned by the vendor and stored thereon for no longer than 90 days without any charges or liens accruing against the City. Abandoned vehicles remaining after 90 days can be removed from the secure area, provided that a junk title has been applied for.
D. 
Any violation of the provisions of this Article shall subject the vendor hereunder to a hearing to be conducted before the City Administrator, who shall set a limited time within which the condition complained of shall be corrected, or the contract shall be canceled upon approval of a majority decision of the City Council.
(1) 
The contract is contingent upon the vendor's compliance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 34:10-1 et seq., which law provides that laborers, workers and mechanics, while engaged on work under the contract, shall work not more than eight hours in any day, except as otherwise provided for in said statute, and that the prevailing rate of daily wages in the locality where the work is performed shall be paid to the mechanics, workmen and laborers engaged in the work under this contract.
(2) 
No part of the contract shall be assigned, leased or sublet or otherwise disposed of by the vendor herein.
(3) 
In the event that bankruptcy proceedings are instituted against the vendor, voluntary or involuntary; or an assignment for the benefit of creditors is made by said vendor; or a receiver is appointed for the vendor and such receivership is not dismissed within 15 days after the appointment of the receiver; or the vendor refuses or fails, after two or more notices from the City that it is failing, to live up to the terms of the contract or performs the work unsatisfactorily or otherwise shall be guilty of a substantial violation of the requirements of this article, the City Council, upon a majority vote, may suspend or terminate the right of the vendor to perform under this Article.
E. 
Motor vehicle scrap or junk motor vehicle titles. It is the responsibility of the Police Department to secure any motor vehicle scrap or junk titles. All disposition of vehicles not claimed by their owner will be in accordance with current regulations enacted by the Division of Motor Vehicles under N.J.S.A. Title 39 or otherwise according to law.
F. 
Abandoned motor vehicles from private property. The owner of the private property will be responsible for the removal of any unattended or disabled vehicles in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.6 and Article I of this chapter and shall employ a towing vendor of his choice. The Police Department reserves the right to impound any such vehicle found to be stolen or used in the commission of a crime or otherwise secured for investigative purposes.
G. 
The City shall retain the right to tow abandoned vehicles to its own land and to retain any moneys realized from the sale of such vehicles or convert the same to the City's use.

§ 320-16 Storage of towed vehicles.

[1997 Code § 320-16]
Vehicles that are towed by order of the Police Department must be towed to an area meeting the requirements of Section 320-12. The vendor shall be responsible for each vehicle in his area until final disposition and removal, as ordered by the City. All vehicles, regardless of condition, must be stored to permit inspection and subsequent removal.

§ 320-17 Removing and storing other vehicles.

[1997 Code § 320-17]
A. 
Vehicles involved in accidents, disablements and the like must be towed and stored under the direction and supervision of the Police Department 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Vehicles must be available for release between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon Saturday, except legal holidays. The vendor must arrive at the scene of the accident within 10 minutes, under normal conditions, after police notification. The City will expect the vendor to arrive at the scene of the accident within the time specified to effect immediate removal and towing of vehicles. Repeated late arrivals at the scene of accidents may result in the cancellation of the contract. Towing and storage charges must be in accordance with this Article. The City will not be responsible for the collection or payment of any charges for towing or storage or standby services, as set forth in Section 320-19 hereafter, under the provisions of this Article.
B. 
The vendor must store such vehicles in the manner provided in Section 320-16. These vehicles will be stored until claimed by the owner or until auctioned by the City in compliance with State law.
C. 
Vehicles removed pursuant to this section must be towed to the vendor's storage area or a City storage area, at the discretion of the Police Department.
D. 
The Police Department will call the vendor for towing service. The vendor may call in other services to handle a call in an emergency situation.
E. 
In the event that the vendor has been summoned by the City for purposes of towing a vehicle and the owner of the vehicle, as well as the owner's tower, arrives on scene prior to removal of the vehicle by the vendor, then in that event the owner is entitled to remove his own vehicle.

§ 320-18 Charges for services.

[1997 Code § 320-18]
A. 
All charges for services performed under the contract shall be in conformity with this Article.
B. 
The rates applicable to services performed under this Article shall be posted in a conspicuous place, visible to the public, at the vendor's storage area.
C. 
The vendor shall prepare a bill for charges pertaining to each vehicle and present it to the claimant of a vehicle. This bill shall be itemized as to actual services rendered.
D. 
The City will not be responsible for charges due and owing from a claimant of a vehicle, nor will it assist the vendor in collecting such charges.
E. 
Should the City conduct an auction of unclaimed vehicles pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:10A-1, the vendor's bill for towing and storage shall be an expense of possession and sale and shall be paid from the proceeds of such auction.
F. 
The title fee which the City must pay to the State of New Jersey for title certificates shall be passed on to the purchaser at the time of auction.

§ 320-19 Standby service.

[1997 Code § 320-19]
A. 
In addition to the service herein outlined, the vendor will be required to furnish extra towing equipment and service during storm periods, periods of snow emergencies, traffic emergencies, disasters, any acts of God and for any other reason when so designated by the Chief of Police or his duly authorized representative. During such periods, which are herein referred to as "standby periods," the vendor shall be required to furnish adequate equipment and service to be held ready to remove the following types of vehicles:
(1) 
Passenger vehicles and trucks under one ton.
(2) 
Trucks one ton and over.
B. 
Standby service will begin when the Chief of Police or his authorized designee calls the vendor initially and will end when he terminates the standby status by calling the vendor.
C. 
The City reserves the right, during any emergency, to designate temporary areas owned or leased by the City for the storage of disabled vehicles in said area at the direction of the Chief of Police or his designee. During said emergencies, the vendor shall be entitled to make regular charges to the owners of the vehicles so removed, and, where storage space is made available by the vendor, the vendor shall be entitled to charge the owner of the vehicle the lawful daily storage charges in addition thereto.

§ 320-20 Indemnity and insurance.

[1997 Code § 320-20]
A. 
The vendor will indemnify and hold harmless the City of Absecon City from any and all claims for personal injury or property damage against the City of Absecon City arising out of the operation of any towing services or repair services under this agreement. The vendor will further defend the City of Absecon City, at the vendor's expense, in connection with any claim, demand, suit or action brought against the City and arising out of the operation of any towing, garage or repair services under this agreement.
B. 
Comprehensive general liability insurance. Limit of liability shall be not less than $1,000,000 combined single limits (bodily injury and property damage) per occurrence and aggregate, including premises operations and products/completed operations.
C. 
Automobile liability insurance. Limit of liability shall be not less than $1,000,000 combined single limits (bodily injury and property damage) per occurrence.
D. 
Workers' compensation insurance. Statutory coverage, including liability coverage, with a limit of at least $100,000.
E. 
Garagekeeper's liability insurance. Limit of liability shall not be less than $100,000.
F. 
All policies shall be specifically endorsed to provide collision insurance for vehicles in tow.
G. 
The City of Absecon City shall be named as an additional insured on all policies.
H. 
Proof of all coverage shall be provided to the City, and all insurance shall be held in force during the term of any contract.

§ 320-21 Records and inspection.

[1997 Code § 320-21]
A. 
The vendor shall maintain records of all vehicles towed, stored and released by him under this Article. Records shall be kept for a seven-year period.
B. 
The vendor shall not release vehicles towed under this Article without the claimant first obtaining a release from the Police Department.
C. 
The vendor shall maintain a record of all property found anywhere in a towed vehicle, including the trunk and glove compartment, if open or a key is available, and the vendor shall be responsible to safeguard and release the contents to the owner.
D. 
Only the Chief of Police or his designee shall have access to any part of the storage area at any time of the day or night for inspection purposes, including both indoor and outdoor areas.
E. 
Authorized representatives of the Police Department or City Administrator or their designees shall have access to any of the records required to be kept by the vendor.

§ 320-22 Term of contract.

[1997 Code § 320-22]
The term of any contract shall be from the date of award and extend for one year and be subject to the requirements and limitations of New Jersey statutes.

§ 320-23 Disputes and adjustments.

[1997 Code § 320-23]
A. 
Any disputes over the interpretation of this Article, including the reasonableness of any fees assessed, shall be settled amicably, if possible, through negotiations between the vendor, the Police Department and the City Administrator.
B. 
In cases where the City has been at fault in wrongfully directing that a vehicle be towed, the vendor may petition the City for reimbursement of cost incurred in the towing and storage of said vehicle.

§ 320-24 Service rates.

[1997 Code § 320-24]
A. 
Towing. Motorcycles, motor scooters, mopeds, automobiles, trucks, buses, tractor-trailers and other heavy equipment, days, nights, weekends and State holidays: $75.
B. 
Storage. The rate for a twenty-four-hour period commencing after the initial day of impound and each additional twenty-four-hour period thereafter for motorcycles, motor scooters, mopeds, automobiles, trucks, buses, tractor-trailers and other heavy equipment shall be $20.
C. 
New Jersey insured private passenger automobiles. Rates for the towing and/or storage of New Jersey insured private passenger automobiles shall not exceed those set forth by the New Jersey Department of Insurance.

§ 320-25 Property located inside vehicles.

[1997 Code § 320-25]
The owner of any vehicle towed shall have the right to remove property belonging to him from the stored vehicle unless a "police hold" is marked on the tow form. The vehicle's owner or his representative shall have the right to take photos of the stored vehicle for insurance purposes.

§ 320-26 Rotation of vendors.

[1997 Code § 320-26]
All vendors holding a contract under the provisions of this Article shall be called to provide services on a rotating basis which provides all vendors with equal access to service calls.