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City of Easton, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 6-28-1995 by Ord. No. 3373; 10-13-2010 by Ord. No. 5268]
A. 
The Police Department is authorized to remove, impound and/or to order the removal, impounding and/or immobilization of any vehicle parked on any streets of the City. The Department of Public Works is authorized to remove, impound and/or immobilize any vehicle parked in any City-owned parking garage, parking lot or any property owned by the City which is in violation of any of the provisions of the laws or ordinances of the City, when lawfully posted pursuant to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Regulations.
[Amended 4-25-2018 by Ord. No. 5631; 11-14-2018 by Ord. No. 5659]
B. 
Scofflaw.
(1) 
If any motor vehicle/conveyance is illegally parked in violation of this Code or any applicable provision of the Motor Vehicle Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or whose owner is delinquent in payment of fines, costs and penalties as a result of the owner's vehicle being in violation of the parking laws of the City of Easton or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, then that owner's vehicle(s)/conveyance(s) shall be prohibited from parking on City streets and may be removed, impounded or immobilized.
[Amended 7-24-2013 by Ord. No. 5423]
(2) 
The owner of any vehicle/conveyance removed, impounded or immobilized under this section may obtain possession of the vehicle/conveyance by:
(a) 
Furnishing proof of valid registration and financial responsibility; and
(b) 
Paying all fines, costs and fees associated with the removal, impoundment or immobilization.
[Amended 4-25-2018 by Ord. No. 5631]
(c) 
Immobilization devices will be removed between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holiday, snow emergency, and/or other emergency declarations. Scofflaws who pay fines and fees after 3:30 p.m. and before 8:00 a.m. will have the immobilization device removed the next normal business day.
[Added 11-14-2018 by Ord. No. 5659]
(3) 
The Police Department and the designated Parking Enforcement Officers employed by the City of Easton are hereby further empowered to immobilize any motor vehicle/conveyance parked on the streets or highways of the City of Easton in violation of this Code by attaching a wheel-locking or similar device.
(4) 
Upon notification of the accumulation of $200 in unpaid parking tickets, the immobilization process shall be implemented. Upon immobilization, a certified letter will be sent to the last registered owner informing him/her of the reason for the immobilization and the process for release of the vehicle. The last registered owner of the vehicle will have seven business days to respond to the Easton Police Department for direction to remedy immobilization and/or fines, costs and penalties. If no response from the last registered owner is received by the Easton Police Department within seven business days, the Police Department shall institute actions against the vehicle’s owner for abandonment of the vehicle on public or private property. Vehicles not released within the seven business days will be towed to a storage facility of the City’s choice and may accrue towing and storage charges in addition to any other fines, costs, and penalties. Any and all fines, penalties and costs shall be paid to the City of Easton in the form of cash, money order, certified bank check or a cashier’s check. The City of Easton shall not accept any payment plans.
[Amended 7-24-2013 by Ord. No. 5423; 12-11-2013 by Ord. No. 5445; 3-11-2015 by Ord. No. 5486; 5-25-2016 by Ord. No. 5554; 6-22-2016 by Ord. No. 5557]
(5) 
No removed, impounded or immobilized motor vehicle/conveyance shall be released until all fines, costs and fees, including towing, storage and/or immobilization charges [For immobilization charges see § 285-29D related to fines] owed by the vehicle owner have been paid in full with the City of Easton. For the purposes of this section "all fines and costs" shall include fines, penalties, and costs owned by the vehicle owner for a parking ticket issued by the Easton Police or a designated Parking Enforcement Officer employed by the City of Easton.
[Amended 11-13-2013 by Ord. No. 5437; 3-11-2015 by Ord. No. 5486; 11-9-2017 by Ord. No. 5607; 4-25-2018 by Ord. No. 5631]
(6) 
If any motor vehicle/conveyance is illegally parked in violation of this Title or any applicable provision of the Motor Vehicle Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or whose owner is delinquent in payment of fines and costs or whose owner is delinquent in payment of fines and penalties as a result of his/her violation of the parking laws of the City or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, then that owner's motor vehicle(s)/conveyance(s) shall be prohibited from parking on City streets and maybe seized, removed and impounded or immobilized.
[Added 1-22-2014 by Ord. No. 5448; amended 3-11-2015 by Ord. No. 5486]
[1]
Editor's Note: Council, by Res. No. 33-89, passed 3-21-1989, approved a policy for towing and storage services in the City. Resolution 24-92, passed 2-26-1992, approved garage and storage places and towing and storage charges. Contact City Hall for current policies and charges.
A. 
The City Council, under the following conditions, shall designate no more than four towing companies as approved, and garages as approved storage places for the storage of Impounded motor vehicles that meet the following conditions:
[Amended 2-11-2009 by Ord. No. 5190; 6-22-2011 by Ord. No. 5320]
(1) 
A certificate of insurance naming the City as an additional insured under the towing/storage company's policy. Liability coverage with a minimum limit of $1,000,000 is required (may be garage liability form of both auto and general liability).
(2) 
The certificate shall show evidence of garage keeper's coverage with a minimum limit of $50,000 per vehicle; tower's liability of $40,000 per vehicle, and workers' compensation, if applicable (if applicant has employees).
(3) 
Provide evidence of a facility (owned or leased by the applicant) for the storage of at least 150 cars. Such facility shall provide a locked, fence-enclosed compound, as well as a building capable of storing five vehicles. Said facility must be in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and within five miles of the City.
(4) 
A state salvor's license.
(5) 
A copy of a salvor's bond with a minimum amount of $20,000.
(6) 
A business privilege license from the City.
(7) 
All documentation required by this section shall accompany any request to become an approved towing and/or storage facility. One copy will be provided to the Director of Finance and one copy shall be provided to the Bureau of Police. In order to remain an approved towing and/or storage company, all documentation required by this section will be updated yearly with the Director of Finance and the Bureau of Police.
B. 
Provide a listing of the approved towing and storage companies to be posted in the Police Department.
[Amended 10-12-2005 by Ord. No. 4717]
C. 
Towing and storage charges shall be set by the towing company in accordance with the base rate for the vehicle towed and stored, provided such rate is reasonable and customary for the vehicle being towed.
[Amended 10-12-2005 by Ord. No. 4717; 12-27-2005 by Ord. No. 4742; 8-9-2006 by Ord. No. 4842]
D. 
Service fee.
(1) 
Each vehicle towed or impounded requires a substantial investment of manpower and equipment on behalf of the City. For this reason, the towing company will pay a service fee to the City for each vehicle towed or impounded at the direction of the police. The service fee is included in Chapter 285, Fees. This service fee will be paid from the charges specified in Subsection C. This fee shall be paid within 30 days of the date the towing company received payment from the customer. An itemized bill will be provided to each towing company monthly, with the billing date on or about the 15th day of the next month. If the bill for any vehicle listed on said statement has not been paid by the due date, the Police Department shall send a letter to the registered owner advising that failure to pay the towing company could result in the vehicle being declared abandoned. Failure to remit fees within 30 days of the end of the month will result in the towing company being suspended from further referrals.
[Amended 2-11-2009 by Ord. No. 5190]
(2) 
No service fee will be assessed for any vehicle when the towing company is paid by any auto club or similar entity, i.e., AAA, etc. There will be no service fee assessed for any City vehicle that has been towed.
[Amended 8-9-2006 by Ord. No. 4842]
E. 
Each approved towing company, during its time of normal rotation as defined in § 560-15, shall tow and store abandoned vehicles at the designation of the Bureau of Police at no charge to the City. Additionally, no storage charges will be assessed to the City for storage of abandoned vehicles. No service fee for towing any vehicle declared as abandoned, regardless of whether the abandonment is prior to or subsequent to the police-ordered tow, shall be remitted to the City by any tow service.
F. 
Sole towing agency while on call; exceptions.
[Amended 12-27-2005 by Ord. No. 4742; 6-22-2011 by Ord. No. 5320]
(1) 
Each approved towing company, during its regular period of on-call rotation, shall be the sole towing agency during such period, unless:
(a) 
Said towing company requests another agency be called in its place.
(b) 
The on-call tow service fails to respond to the request for service within a reasonable time frame. Expected response time shall be no more than 15 minutes from initial contact with the tow company and a max response time of no more than 30 minutes from initial contact with the tow company. If the max time is exceeded, the Police Supervisor ay request the next tow service on the scheduled rotation to respond.
(c) 
The Police Supervisor may request, at his/her discretion, an alternate tow service than that scheduled per the on-call rotation if circumstances necessitate the need for specific equipment or multiple tow units not available by the tow service on call.
(2) 
Nothing in this section shall prohibit any authorized tow service from subcontracting to another tow service or requesting assistance from another tow service.
[Amended 6-28-1995 by Ord. No. 3373]
The payment of any towing and impounding charges authorized by this article shall, unless such payment be made under protest, be final and conclusive and shall constitute a waiver of any right to recover the money so paid.
[Amended 6-28-1995 by Ord. No. 3373]
The Bureau of Police and the approved storage garage, tower and salvager shall keep a record of all vehicles impounded by the City and shall be able at all reasonable times to furnish the owners or agents of the owners thereof, or the City, with information as to the place of storage of such vehicles, along with an itemization of all charges levied. These records shall be maintained for a period of one year.
[Amended 3-28-1984 by Ord. No. 2758]
The payment of towing and storage charges shall not operate to relieve the owner or operator of any vehicle from liability for any fine or penalty or for the violation of any law or ordinance on account of which the vehicle was removed and impounded.
[Amended 2-25-2004 by Ord. No. 4476; 6-22-2011 by Ord. No. 5320]
If there is more than one storage garage, tower and salvager approved by Council, then the Police Department is directed to alternate, on a week-to-week basis, the approved garage, tower and salvager to be used under the provisions of this article, except for emergency situations as determined by the Chief of Police or the Mayor. Any request for a garage other than the approved garage for the respective week shall be made by the owner or operator directly or at the tower's or salvager's request of the Police Supervisor for reason aforementioned in § 560-11.
[Amended 3-28-1984 by Ord. No. 2758]
If Council determines that an approved garage, tower and salvager has committed any breach of duty or violation of any of the provisions of this article, then Council, at its discretion, after notice and an opportunity to be heard by all interested parties, shall determine whether the subject garage, tower and salvager shall be decertified and removed as an approved storage garage, tower and salvager. Any violation of the provisions of this article shall subject the garage, tower and salvager to a fine of not more than $300.
[Amended 3-28-1984 by Ord. No. 2758]
The provisions of this article shall be construed to conform to the requirements of Section 6109(a)(22) of the Vehicle Code.