City of Burlington, NJ
Burlington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Burlington by Ord. No. 14-2003 (Ch. 10.24 of the 1996 Municipal Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fee Schedule — See Ch. 146.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 306.
Abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 340.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 344.

§ 326-1 Purpose and scope.

A. 
The purpose of this chapter is:
(1) 
To establish a requirement and procedure for the licensing of individuals and entities providing towing and storage services to the police.
(2) 
To establish, in the interest of public safety, a uniform policy for the towing and storage of motor vehicle towed and stored at the request of the police; and
(3) 
To establish uniform fees for towing and storage services.
B. 
This chapter shall apply to all motor vehicle towing and storage operations performed at the request of the police.

§ 326-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AUTOMOBILE
A private passenger motor vehicle, or any vehicle included in the definition of "automobile" under N.J.A.C. 11:3-2.2.
BASIC TOWING SERVICE
The removal and transportation of an automobile from a highway, street or other public or private road, or a parking area, or from a storage facility, and other services normally incident thereto. "Basic towing service" does not include recovery of vehicles from a position outside the right-of-way or berm, or recovery from resting, impaled upon, adhered or otherwise attached to, any other object within the right-of-way or berm.
CITY
City of Burlington.
HOLIDAY
New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
MOTOR VEHICLE
Includes all vehicles propelled otherwise than by muscular power, except such vehicles as run only upon rails or tracks, or motorized bicycles.
TOW OPERATOR
A person engaged in the business of towing and storing motor vehicles or offering the services of a tow vehicle or tow truck and storage services.
TOW VEHICLES or TOW TRUCK
Those vehicles equipped with a boom or booms, winches, slings, tilt beds, wheel lifts or under-reach equipment specifically designed by their manufacturer for the removal or transport of motor vehicles, including flatbed vehicles and trailers employed for the purpose of towing, transporting, conveying and/or removing motor vehicles which are unable to be operated under their own power from one place to another, for which a charge or fee is extracted. All vehicles to be used pursuant to this chapter shall be adequately designed and maintained by the tow operator to transport a disabled vehicle safely and without damage.
WEEKDAY
Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
WEEKEND
A Saturday or a Sunday.
WEEKNIGHT or NIGHT
Monday through Friday between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.

§ 326-3 License required.

No person shall engage in the business of towing or storing motor vehicles at the direction of the police without first obtaining a tow operator's license. Nothing herein shall require licensing for the rendering of road service or for the provision of towing and storage services within the City other than at the request of the police.

§ 326-4 Application for license.

A. 
Applicants for a license under this chapter shall file with the City Clerk a sworn application on a form to be furnished by the Clerk, which shall include the following information and certification:
(1) 
The full name and address of the applicant. If the application is made for a corporation, it shall state the names and addresses of the officers and directors thereof, its registered agent and the names and residential addresses of every stockholder owning more than 10% of the issued stock.
(2) 
The year, make and type of each tow vehicle used in said business, its serial number, registration number and registered owner;
(3) 
The address where the tow vehicle or vehicles shall be regularly garaged, the telephone number or numbers and the hours during which service is available at those numbers, and the name, address and telephone number of an emergency contact for the applicant. In addition, the operator shall maintain, available for inspection by the City, a list of active drivers containing their names, addresses, New Jersey driver's license number and commercial driver's license number (if applicable).
(4) 
Storage location setting forth capacity, contractor responsible for safe storage area location, proof of ownership or lease of storage area along with a survey certifying the square footage within the surveyed area.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
(5) 
The name and address of the insurance carriers, and the policy numbers of all insurance policies as required by § 326-9;
(6) 
A copy of the operator's current fee schedule for towing and storage services, separately listing towing and storage fees for automobiles and other motor vehicles;
(7) 
A certification that on-call towing and storage services will be available 24 hours per day, every day of the year;
(8) 
A certification that all required fees will be paid and procedures will be followed at all times;
(9) 
A statement that the Chief of Police or his designee may at any reasonable time conduct and inspection of the tow vehicles or storage facility of any applicant or licensee for the purpose of determining compliance with City regulations.
(10) 
A certification that neither the applicant nor any tow vehicle operator shall have any criminal convictions for crimes involving fraud, dishonesty, or moral turpitude, or prior motor vehicle infractions related to the towing, licensing, repairing, registration, or titling of motor vehicles or motor vehicles towing operations which might adversely affect public safety or welfare;
(11) 
An agreement to abide by and accept the terms and conditions of this chapter and the rules and policies adopted pursuant to this chapter;
(12) 
Satisfactory proof that any and all applicable business and/or trade licenses have been obtained;
(13) 
A statement of hours during which the facility is open and available for the retrieval of vehicles or the transaction of business by members of the public. The hours of business shall be not less than six hours per weekday and at least four hours on Saturday.
(14) 
Such other information as the administrator or Chief of Police may reasonably require.
B. 
All applications for a tow operator's license shall be accompanied by a fee as set forth in Chapter 146, Fee Schedule, to cover the City's costs in processing the application. An annual fee as set forth in Chapter 146, Fee Schedule, shall be due to the City. All fees are nonrefundable whether or not the license is denied or revoked for any reason.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
C. 
All licenses are subject to annual review and renewal as set forth in § 326-6.

§ 326-5 Application review; performance standards.

A. 
The City Clerk shall forward all complete applications to the Chief who shall conduct or cause to be conducted such investigation as he deems necessary to determine the truth and accuracy of the information contained in the application and whether the applicant meets the following minimum performance standards:
(1) 
The applicant has the ability to respond to the scene in response to any request for assistance within 15 minutes after notification.
(2) 
The applicant can provide on-call towing services 24 hours per day, every day of the year.
(3) 
The tow trucks and equipment are in safe and sound condition and in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, capable of transporting disabled vehicles safely and without damage. All applicants must meet minimum standards of operator performance, including but not limited to standards concerning the adequacy of the applicant's equipment and storage facilities and availability.
(4) 
The applicant owns or has a valid lease to a storage facility within three miles of the City limits, in an area legally zoned for such use, and such storage facility shall have a minimum of 25 spaces for passenger automobiles. Such storage facility shall comply with the requirements of this chapter.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
(5) 
The tow operator's license shall be prominently displayed as set forth in § 326-6C.
(6) 
The applicant is in compliance with and/or has the ability to comply with all other requirements and standards set forth herein.
(7) 
The tow operator must provide access to the storage area to the Police Department as needed on a twenty-four-hour-a-day basis.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
(8) 
The entire land area of the storage location shall be enclosed by a fence of sturdy construction of at least six feet in height and shall be secured with lighting.[3]
[3]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
B. 
In addition to the minimum standards of performance referred to in the preceding subsection, all applicants are subject to disqualification if found deficient in any one of the following areas:
(1) 
Provided false or inaccurate information on the application form;
(2) 
Lacks experiences and/or does not have good references from prior customers of the applicant's towing and storage services;
(3) 
Fails to maintain the facilities, information, or status to qualify as a tow operator as set forth in § 326-4 for licensing;
(4) 
Provision of inadequate or insufficient service as set forth in § 326-7A(3).
C. 
Within 60 days of receipt of an application the Chief of Police shall make his recommendation to the City Clerk. The City Clerk shall make the final decision regarding all new and/or renewal applications for towing. If the application is disapproved, the reasons therefor shall be set forth in writing. The City Clerk shall notify the applicant, in writing, that the application has been granted or denied. If the application is denied, the reasons for such denial shall be set forth in the notice, along with the applicant's right to appeal the denial to the Common Council pursuant to § 326-8.

§ 326-6 Issuance of license; fee; renewal display; transferability.

A. 
A tow operator's license shall be issued by the City Clerk to an approved applicant upon provision of insurance certification pursuant to § 326-9. The City Clerk shall send a copy of the license to the police for filing, and shall keep a permanent record of each license.
B. 
All licenses shall expire at the end of the calendar year in which issued. Applications for renewal, certifying any changes to the original application or certifying no change shall be filed with the City Clerk at least 30 days before expiration, on forms to be provided by the City Clerk. Renewal applications will be forwarded to the Chief of Police for review and any necessary investigation in accordance with the procedures and standards set forth in § 326-5. Results of the Chief of Police's investigation shall be forwarded to the City Clerk for the Clerk's consideration when reviewing an application. If approved, a renewal license shall be issued upon payment of the license fee and provision of required insurance certifications.
C. 
All licenses or certified copies thereof shall be displayed prominently on all tow vehicles and at the tow operator's principal place of business.
D. 
All licenses are nontransferable.

§ 326-7 Revocation and suspension.

A. 
Licenses may be suspended or revoked by the City Clerk after reasonable notice and opportunity for a hearing pursuant to § 326-8 for any of the following reasons:
(1) 
False or materially inaccurate information in the application, or a change of circumstances which would have caused disapproval of the application if existing at the time of approval;
(2) 
Failure to comply with any of the requirements of this chapter, any additional regulations promulgated by the Common Council, or any state, federal or local law relating to motor vehicle operation or storage;
(3) 
Unsatisfactory service which jeopardizes public safety. By way of example and not of limitation, more than three unexcused failures to respond and/or valid complaints (as determined by the Chief of Police after investigation) within a twelve-month period shall be cause for suspension and/or revocation.
(4) 
Multiple responses to tow situations without first being called pursuant to the rules established by this chapter unless a direct call is made to the tow operator by the vehicle owner or operator. In lieu of revocation, the Clerk may drop the offending operator to the bottom of the on-call list for a first offense under this provision.
B. 
Notice of suspension and/or revocation shall be in writing and shall include the reasons therefor and notice of the licensee's right to appeal to Common Council pursuant to § 326-8.
C. 
License fees shall in all cases be nonrefundable regardless of revocation or suspension of the license.

§ 326-8 Appeals.

A. 
Any person aggrieved by the action of the City Clerk in the denial of an application for a license, or in revocation thereof, or in the suspensions from the City's on-call towing list, may appeal to the Common Council by filing with the City Clerk, within 14 days after notice of the action complained of has been mailed to such person's last known address, a written request for a hearing, setting forth fully the grounds for the appeal. The Common Council will set a time and place for a hearing on such appeal, and notice shall be served on or mailed to the applicant or licensee at least five days prior to the hearing. The Council's determination shall be made by resolution and shall become more effective immediately, unless otherwise set forth in writing in the resolution.
B. 
The Common Council may, for good cause shown and in its sole discretion, stay a suspension or revocation by the City Clerk pending the holding of a hearing.

§ 326-9 Insurance requirements.

A. 
Every licensee shall carry insurance as follows:
(1) 
Comprehensive automobile liability in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limits;
(2) 
Workers compensation coverage as required by state law;
(3) 
Garage keeper's liability in the amount not less than $60,000 per location;
(4) 
Garage liability in the amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limits;
(5) 
Comprehensive general liability coverage in an amount not less than $1,000,000 for each person and $3,000,000 for each accident;
(6) 
Endorsements providing for collision coverage for vehicles in tow;
(7) 
Endorsements incorporating the indemnification provision set forth in Subsection B of this section;
(8) 
Endorsement naming the City as an additional insured in all insurance policies (except workers' compensation policies) for licensees on the City's on-call towing list.
B. 
All licensees shall hold harmless and indemnify the City, its officers, employees and agents, from any and all liability claims, losses or damage arising or alleged to arise from the performance of the towing services requested of or rendered by the licensee. The City shall be named as an additional insured on the tow operators' liability policies as set forth in Subsection A of this section.
C. 
All insurance policies shall be written by insurance companies acceptable to the City and authorized to do business in the State of New Jersey with a best rating of not less than AAA.
D. 
No license shall be issued or renewed until the applicant has filed with the City Clerk certificates of insurance evidencing the required insurance coverage and endorsements. All certificates must provide for 30 days' prior written notice to the City of policy cancellation or material change.
E. 
A license will be automatically revoked upon expiration or cancellation of the required insurance or material change in coverage which renders that coverage not in compliance with the requirements of this section.

§ 326-10 On-call towing list.

A. 
The Chief of Police shall maintain a list of those tow operators licensed by the City to respond to calls from the police. In order to be included on the on-call towing list, an applicant must meet all of the requirements of this chapter and shall enter into an agreement with the City for a term of one year, said agreement to be prepared by the City Solicitor.
B. 
Calls to tow operators on the on-call list shall be made on a nondiscriminatory rotating basis, pursuant to procedures established by the Chief of Police. Nothing herein shall prohibit the Chief of Police or his designee from calling a tow operator out of sequence or seeking the services of a tow operator not on the on-call list if the circumstances require specialized equipment or if the interest of public safety so require. If the tow operator selected does not respond to the scene within 15 minutes notification, the Chief of Police or his designee shall be permitted to summon the next available tow operator. When any unusual situation occurs which may be dangerous to the safety of the public, such as a spill of toxic material or other dangerous cargo, the police may select any qualified tow operator.
C. 
The fees to be charged for the towing and storage services of automobiles shall be as set forth in § 326-13. The City shall not be liable for the cost of any towing and/or storage services unless those services are performed on a municipal vehicle. This means, by way of example and not limitation, if a tow operator is called to provide a service and the owner is able to get his/her vehicle started and operating in the interim, then neither the City nor the owner shall be responsible for the tow operator's costs. Further, the tow operator will not lose his position on the towing list.
D. 
Inclusion on the on-call towing list shall be automatically revoked upon expiration or revocation of the tow operator's license. The Common Council may also suspend a licensed tow operator's inclusion on the on-call towing list for such period of time as deemed appropriate for violations of this chapter, after a hearing on such violations.
E. 
Nothing in this section shall prohibit a motorist or motor vehicle owner from summoning a tow operator of his or her own choosing, except that any City police officer at the scene of an incident requiring towing services shall be responsible for making the final determination as to when towing shall take place and which tow operator shall be called.

§ 326-11 Disposition of towed vehicles.

A. 
All vehicles towed at the request of the police must be removed to an approved storage facility unless the owner or operator of the vehicle specifically requests that it be towed to another destination. A police officer at the scene shall be responsible for making the final determination as to the towing destination.
B. 
Vehicles that are being towed and held by the police shall not be released until the owner or his/her agent provides a release form from the police.
C. 
All vehicles towed at the request of the police must be stored together at the approved storage facility and not scattered through the premises.
D. 
No tow operator shall dispose of, destroy, remove, sell or otherwise transfer any vehicle towed at the request of the police without first complying with all applicable laws of the state and notifying the police of its intention to do so in writing at least 14 days prior to effectuating same.
E. 
Vehicles designated by the police as being used in criminal activity shall be stored in a separate space for the exclusive use of the police and shall not be released without the written permission of the Chief of Police or his designee.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 326-12 Additional requirements.

A. 
In addition to any requirements set forth elsewhere in this chapter, all approved towing services must provide, in writing, an employment nondiscrimination statement prior to the issuance of said approval, and must agree to comply with all laws and regulations concerning wages, hours and terms of employment.
B. 
Employees of an approved towing service shall in no way be deemed to represent or be employed by this municipality, and all such towing services shall be responsible for the conduct of their employees.
C. 
All towing and storage fees shall be disclosed in an appropriate notice on the front or top page of all invoices and receipts. Additionally, adequate public posting of such fees must be made at the storage area, in easy view of the public.
D. 
Tow operators shall advise members of the public of their right to file a complaint with the City Clerk. The City Clerk shall evaluate all such written complaints in determining whether action is required under § 326-7. Tow operators shall maintain a detailed list of all complaints received for inspection by the City Clerk, which shall include, at least, the name and address of the complaining party; the date, time and place of the tow; the nature of the complaint; and the disposition of the complaint.

§ 326-13 Fee schedule.

A. 
No person shall be liable to any tow operator who tows or stores an automobile, including but not limited to any automobile which was damaged in an accident or recovered after being reported stolen, for any fees in excess of the following:
(1) 
All weights shall be based upon the manufacturer's stated gross vehicle weight.
(2) 
Day rates shall apply between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The night/weekend/holiday rate shall apply from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. Monday through Friday and for the entire twenty-four-hour-day on weekends and holidays. All rates shall be based upon the time of the call to the tow operator.
(3) 
Storage fees are for each twenty-four-hour day or portion thereof. A new day commences at one minute after 12:00 a.m.
B. 
Basic towing service fees are maximum rates for up to one hour of service at the scene, and includes mileage for the first five miles of tow.
[Amended 9-15-2009 by Ord. No. 18-2009]
Day
Nights, Weekends, Holidays
Basic Towing Service Fees (includes flat bed services)
Automobiles and trucks under 1 ton
$90
$125
Trucks one to 5 tons
$90
$125
Trucks, buses, tractor trailers and heavy equipment over 5 tons
$150
$150
Motorcycles, motorscooters and mopeds
$50
$70
Storage Fees to be Charged to Owner or Operator of Vehicle
Inside secured
$30/day
Outside secured
$30/day
C. 
In no event shall any tow operator charge a towing or storage fee for private passenger vehicles damaged in an accident or recovered after being stolen in excess of the fees established by the Department of Insurance. It shall be the responsibility of the tow operators to comply with all applicable Department of Insurance rules and regulations. The tow operator shall submit annually as part of its application or renewal thereof its fee schedule for the towing and storage of automobiles, which shall be subject to the review and approval of Common Council.
D. 
If a tow operator impounds a vehicle from a public street, right-of-way or other location at the direct request of the police, the basic fee for towing and storage shall be as noted above.
E. 
For all motor vehicles other than those set forth above, the tow operator shall set reasonable and customary fees for the Burlington County area for the towing and storage of such vehicles. The tow operator shall submit annually, as part of its application or renewal thereof, its fee schedule for the towing and storage of all motor vehicles other than automobiles, which shall be subject to the review and approval of the Common Council.
F. 
A current fee schedule shall be submitted for approval on an annual basis at the time of application for license renewal.
G. 
When basic towing services are rendered for any automobile, there shall be no additional charges other than those provided for in Subsection A of this section, including but not limited to flatbedding, waiting time, winching and additional labor.
H. 
Tow vehicles transporting multiple vehicles at one time may charge the applicable fee for each vehicle transported.
I. 
Prior to hookup or flatbedding of a motor vehicle, the tow operator shall present a copy of its fee schedule to the owner or operator of the vehicle. The fee schedule shall also contain the name, address and telephone number of the tow operator and a statement of the hours when and the location where the motor vehicle may be claimed.
J. 
The towing company shall charge a service fee for cleaning up fluids on the roadway as set forth in Chapter 146, Fee Schedule.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 326-14 Regulations and procedures.

The Common Council shall promulgate such rules, regulations and procedures, not inconsistent with this chapter as may be reasonable and necessary. Copies thereof shall be provided to all licensed tow operators and shall be made available to the public, along with copies of current fee schedules, during normal business hours. Failure to comply with applicable rules, regulations and procedures may be cause for revocation of a tow operator's license.

§ 326-15 Enforcement.

The Chief of Police is hereby designated to enforce the provision of this chapter and any applicable rules and regulations.

§ 326-16 Approval of Division of Consumer Affairs.

The schedule of services and rates for the towing and storage of motor vehicles is subject to the approval of the Division of Consumer Affairs. The City Clerk shall submit this chapter to the Division of Consumer Affairs for approval.

§ 326-17 Violations and penalties. [1]

Violations of this chapter shall be punishable as provided in Chapter 1, Article III, General Penalty.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).