City of Harrisburg, PA
Dauphin County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Harrisburg by Ord. No. 7-1972. Amendments noted where applicable.]
CROSS-REFERENCES
Booting vehicles: see Ch. 3-143.
Power to establish removal and impounding procedures: see Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 6109(a)(22).
Removal by or at direction of police: see Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3352.

§ 3-135.1 Outside contractor; requirements; performance standards.

[Ord. No. 55-1990]
A. 
Once every three years the City shall publicly advertise for bids for towing service within the City. Such advertising shall be done in accordance with City procedures and applicable law. The City shall then examine the qualifications in accordance with the factors set forth in Subsections B and C below and choose two contractors to be the designated City towing service providers based upon their ability to meet and/or fulfill the factors listed therein.
B. 
No contractor may be designated to be one of the City towing services who does not meet the following criteria:
(1) 
The contractor must be a licensed salvor as defined in Section 102 of the Vehicle Code.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 102.
(2) 
The contractor must procure, on or before the date of entering into the contract, the bonds and insurance required by § 3-135.6 and maintain the same during the life of the contract.
(3) 
The contractor must procure, on or before the date of entering into the contract, the necessary licenses and permits from the City to carry on business inside the City, and, if the contractor's principal place of business is outside the City, the contractor must also procure the necessary licenses and permits from the municipality where it is located on or before the date of entering into the contract and maintain all licenses and permits during the life of the contract.
(4) 
The contractor must be capable of performing the work without subcontracting any part thereof.
(5) 
The contractor must have a secured area available for police officers to fingerprint towed vehicles.
C. 
All bids received shall be examined with respect to:
(1) 
Location of storage facilities, both long term and short term (less than 30 days), with preference accorded to those contractors whose storage facility is within the City or, if none, those closest to the City limits.
(2) 
Location of vehicle dispatch and night office, with preference accorded to those contractors whose vehicles are normally and customarily located at an office maintained within the corporate limits of the City or, if none, closest to the City. For the purposes of this section, a contractor may buy or lease property within the City or close to the City but may not subcontract work in order to receive a preference.
(3) 
Normal operating hours, with the stated police purpose of having twenty-four-hour towing service and allowing persons the greatest possible opportunities to retrieve their vehicles, especially outside the normal working hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
(4) 
Objectively demonstrable past towing experience of the contractor with the City, other municipalities and other citizens, both in terms of quantity and quality of service.
(5) 
Criminal history, if any, bearing upon the contractor's ability to perform under the contract.
D. 
The contract between the City and the contractor entered into pursuant to this section may be terminated by the City for any of the following reasons:
(1) 
Failure of the contractor to maintain a salvor's license.
(2) 
Failure of the contractor to maintain the required bonds and insurances.
(3) 
Failure of the contractor to maintain any required licenses and permits.
(4) 
A guilty determination or guilty plea entered by or in any court of competent jurisdiction relating to violations of the Vehicle Code.
(5) 
Failure of the contractor on more than one occasion in any six-month period to respond promptly to City calls for service. Recognizing the importance of keeping the streets safe and passable, promptness will be defined with reference to the response time of previous contractors and/or the same contractor on previous occasions.
(6) 
The failure of the contractor to adequately clean the street at an accident site after removing a vehicle; provided, however, that the contractor shall not be required to remove hazardous or dangerous materials.
(7) 
Failure of the contractor to maintain a storage facility or place of business.
(8) 
Failure of the contractor to meet any and all conditions of the contract as mutually agreed upon with the City, including but not limited to events of default as those may from time to time be mutually defined and agreed upon in the contract between the City and the contractor.

§ 3-135.2 Authority to remove and impound.

[Ord. No. 55-1990]
A. 
Upon the written request of the Bureau of Police, a salvor may take possession of, and tow to his storage facilities, any motor vehicle found abandoned within the meaning of Section 102 of the Vehicle Code.[1] The written request of the Bureau of Police shall contain a statement whether such motor vehicle is valuable only as junk.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 102.
B. 
The Bureau of Police may remove or cause to be removed, and subsequently cause to be impounded, any motor vehicle parked on any street, highway, public property or private property in violation of any City ordinance or the Vehicle Code.
C. 
The Bureau of Police may remove or cause to be removed through a salvor, and subsequently cause to be impounded, any motor vehicle which is:
(1) 
Obstructing traffic.
(2) 
Parked on private property without the permission of the owner thereof, provided that the property is posted as required by 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3353(b).
(3) 
Reportedly stolen.
(4) 
Parked in such a manner as to impede the use of fire-fighting equipment, snow removal equipment or other emergency equipment.

§ 3-135.3 Application to transfer vehicle title.

In the case of motor vehicles abandoned upon private property and motor vehicles whose title certificate is faulty, lost or destroyed, the person, firm, corporation, or unit of government upon whose property or in whose possession the abandoned motor vehicle was found or the owner of such vehicle with faulty title or certificate may apply to the Bureau of Police for authority to transfer the motor vehicle to a salvor. The application shall set forth the name and address of the applicant and the year, make, model, manufacturer's serial number, and registration number of the motor vehicle, if ascertainable, together with any other identifying features and shall contain a concise statement of the facts surrounding the abandonment, or that the title of the motor vehicle is lost or destroyed, or the reasons for the defect of title in the owner. The applicant shall execute an affidavit stating that the facts alleged therein are true and correct and that no material facts have been withheld.

§ 3-135.4 Storage in approved storage garages only.

A. 
All motor vehicles which are removed and impounded in accordance with the provisions of § 3-135.2 shall be stored in approved storage garages designated by the Mayor or Chief of Police. In order to qualify as an approved storage garage, any person, partner or corporation shall maintain an adequate storage facility where abandoned motor vehicles can be stored for the period required by the Vehicle Code.
B. 
The owner or other person in charge or possession of any property on which a vehicle is parked or left unattended in violation of § 3353(b) of the Vehicle Code[1] may remove or have the vehicle removed at the cost and expense of the owner of the vehicle. Such person who removes said vehicle shall be entitled to receive the applicable fee set forth in § 3-135.7 and shall have a lien against the owner of the vehicle for such costs.
[Ord. No. 55-1990[2]]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3353(b).
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1-303).
C. 
No vehicle shall be removed under the authority of this chapter if, at the time of such intended removal, the owner or person for the time being in charge of such motor vehicle is present, expresses a willingness and intention to immediately remove such motor vehicle, is physically capable of immediately removing such vehicle, and pays the charge specified in § 3-135.7.
[Ord. No. 55-1990]

§ 3-135.5 Notice to owner of removal and impounding of motor vehicle.

A. 
Notice of the fact that a motor vehicle has been impounded as an abandoned vehicle shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Vehicle Code.
B. 
Within 12 hours from the time of removal of a motor vehicle in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, except in the case of an abandoned motor vehicle, notice of the fact that such motor vehicle has been removed and/or impounded shall be sent by the Bureau of Police to the owner of record of such motor vehicle, designating the place from which said vehicle was removed, the reason for its removal and/or impounding, and the name and address of the garage in which it has been impounded or the location of the place to which it has been removed.

§ 3-135.6 Salvor to post bonds and procure insurance.

A. 
Before a salvor shall be eligible to receive any motor vehicles deemed to be abandoned, such salvor shall furnish a bond as required by Section 7302 of the Vehicle Code.[1] A salvor or operator of an approved storage garage, before being eligible to receive any motor vehicles other than those deemed to be abandoned as aforesaid, shall execute a surety bond in favor of the City in an adequate amount for the indemnifying of the owner of such impounded vehicle against the loss thereof or injury or damage thereto while in custody of such salvor. The amount of said bond shall be fixed by the Mayor or Chief of Police of the City. All bonds required to be procured pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be submitted to the Solicitor of the City for approval.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 73 Pa.C.S.A. § 7302.
B. 
Each salvor or operator of an approved storage garage shall procure insurance of the following types and amounts covering the activities conducted in accordance with the provisions of this chapter:
(1) 
Public liability:
(a) 
Fifty thousand dollars per person;
(b) 
One hundred thousand dollars per accident; and
(c) 
Twenty-five thousand dollars property damage; and
(2) 
Fire, explosion and extended coverage in the amount of $50,000.
C. 
Any public liability policy shall name the City as an additional insured. Fire, explosion and extended coverage policies shall name the City as insured for the use of the owners of motor vehicles in the salvor's custody. All policies shall carry an endorsement stating that no policy may be canceled without 10 days' prior written notice to the City.

§ 3-135.7 Towing and storage charges.

[Ord. No. 55-1990; Ord. No. 31-1995; amended 10-22-2002 by Ord. No. 23-2002]
A. 
Any party having the right to reclaim an abandoned vehicle shall first pay the following amounts:
(1) 
To the salvor pursuant to Section 7306 of the Vehicle Code: $25.[1]
[Amended 9-28-2004 by Ord. No. 34-2004; 12-11-2007 by Ord. No. 32-2007]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 7306.
(2) 
For each day or part thereof during which a vehicle is stored to the operator of an approved storage garage for storage of the vehicle: $35.
[Amended 9-28-2004 by Ord. No. 34-2004; 12-11-2007 by Ord. No. 32-2007]
(3) 
To the City of Harrisburg: a surcharge of $10, which shall be collected by the salvor and remitted by the salvor to the City Treasurer every 30 days.
[Added 1-23-2007 by Ord. No. 1-2007]
(4) 
To the City of Harrisburg for the issuance of a towing slip that permits the vehicle owner or other authorized party to retrieve an impounded vehicle: $10.
[Added 1-23-2007 by Ord. No. 1-2007; amended 6-11-2013 by Ord. No. 9-2013]
B. 
Any party having the right to reclaim a vehicle other than those which are deemed to be abandoned shall first pay the salvor the following amounts:
(1) 
For expenses incurred in routine removing and towing any vehicle from any place in the City to an approved storage garage and/or facility: $65. "Towing" shall mean all procedures, including but not limited to securing the vehicle, unlocking the doors, unhooking the transmission to facilitate towing, and the reconnecting of any parts of the vehicle that had to be disconnected to facilitate towing.
[Amended 12-11-2007 by Ord. No. 32-2007]
(2) 
If winching is required to facilitate the towing: $45 per hour.
(3) 
If the vehicle has to be "rollback towed" because it is incapable of being towed in a normal fashion (e.g., if the wheels are off or if the vehicle has "spoilers" or other body parts on its carriage that would be destroyed or damaged by normal towing): $75.
[Amended 12-11-2007 by Ord. No. 32-2007]
(4) 
For the expenses incurred in removing and towing away a vehicle from any place in the City to an approved storage garage if such towing and removal occur during a state of emergency declared by the Mayor: $60.
(5) 
To the salvor if the party having the right to reclaim the vehicle does so after the arrival of the salvor but before the vehicle is towed: $35.
(6) 
For each day or part thereof during which a vehicle is stored to the operator of an approved storage garage: $35.
[Amended 9-28-2004 by Ord. No. 34-2004; 12-11-2007 by Ord. No. 32-2007]

§ 3-135.8 Unauthorized response prohibited.

[Ord. No. 55-1990]
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to send, operate, or direct a motor vehicle wrecker to the location or scene of an accident or disabled vehicle in the City if information as to such accident or disabled vehicle was obtained directly or indirectly from Police Bureau shortwave radio calls or transmissions, provided that this section shall not apply to information obtained from calls made by the Police Bureau or a police officer thereof directly to a particular wrecker service or business requesting a wrecker be sent by said service or business to the scene of an accident or disabled motor vehicle.
B. 
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation operating a motor vehicle wrecker service or business in the City, or any employee of such service or business, to permit any radio at such place of business or in any vehicle used in such business to be turned to the Police Bureau shortwave radio band or otherwise tuned or set so as to intercept or receive Police Bureau shortwave radio calls or transmissions.
C. 
It shall be unlawful for any person engaged in operating a motor vehicle wrecker service or business, or any employee of such service or business, to solicit patronage for such wrecker service or business at the scene of a motor vehicle accident in the City or within one hour after the occurrence of such accident.
D. 
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to send, operate or direct a motor vehicle wrecker to the location or the scene of an accident or disabled vehicle in the City unless requested to do so by the owner or person in charge or in possession of such vehicle and after obtaining the name and residence address of such owner or person in charge or possession thereof. It shall be unlawful to drive along any street or bridge and solicit towing work. Solicitation of towing work by the operator or other occupant of a licensed wrecker while parked on any street or bridge is also prohibited. Responding to a call upon notice from gas station attendants, taxicab drivers, or unauthorized persons shall be considered a violation of this chapter.
E. 
It shall be unlawful for any City employee to solicit business for any wrecker or towing car operator.
F. 
It shall be unlawful for any person in charge of or operating a wrecker to remove a disabled motor vehicle from the scene of an accident without furnishing a police officer at such scene with the name and address of the person requesting the removal of such disabled motor vehicle when requested by such officer to do so.
G. 
The provisions of Subsections A, B and E and the first sentence of Subsection D of this section shall not apply to a wrecker service or business under written contract with the City to furnish wrecker service to said City at the request of the Police Bureau.

§ 3-135.9 Payment of unauthorized charges; treble damages.

[Ord. No. 11-1981]
A. 
In the event that unauthorized fees for towing and storage are charged by a salvor, the owner of the vehicle shall have the right to bring a civil action against the salvor before a magisterial district judge or a court of record having jurisdiction over such matter.
B. 
If, following the hearing held pursuant to such civil action described in Subsection A hereof, a magisterial district judge determines that a payment made was, in fact, unauthorized or in excess of the prescribed legal amount, the complainant shall be awarded monetary damages triple the amount of the original payment.

§ 3-135.10 Lien on motor vehicles for unpaid towing and storage; enforcement.

[Ord. No. 9-1978]
A. 
Where a motor vehicle is removed pursuant to the provisions of § 3-135.2B or C and charges for towing and/or storage of the motor vehicle accrue and are unpaid, a lien on the motor vehicle is hereby given to the salvor and/or the operator of the approved storage garage in which the motor vehicle is stored for the amount of any charges which accrue in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. The salvor and the operator of the approved storage facility may retain possession of the motor vehicle until the charges are fully paid and may enforce any such lien by selling the motor vehicle in accordance with the procedure set forth for the enforcement of a warehouseman's lien in Section 7-210 of the Uniform Commercial Code, Act of November 1, 1979, P.L. 255, 13 Pa.C.S.A. § 7210. In any event, the owner of the motor vehicle shall be personally liable for the payment of any charges.
B. 
Any party having the right to reclaim an abandoned vehicle or a vehicle other than those which are deemed to be abandoned may pay in cash, personal check drawn on a local bank, or, where appropriate, by credit card; provided, however, that any party tendering a check which is subsequently returned for insufficient funds or because a stop payment order was requested by the payor shall be liable to the salvor for an amount equal to three times the original amount charged, except that a party shall have four business days from the date of the check to cure a check returned for insufficient funds before an amount equal to three times the original amount is charged.
[Ord. No. 18-1987]

§ 3-135.11 Payment of charges without protest.

The payment of any towing and storage charges authorized by this chapter shall, unless such payment shall have been made under protest, be final and conclusive and shall constitute a waiver of any right to recover the money so paid.

§ 3-135.12 Payment of charges under protest.

In the event that the towing and storage charges are paid under protest, the offender shall be entitled to a hearing before a magisterial district judge or a court of record having jurisdiction, in which case said offender shall be proceeded against and receive such notice as is provided by the Vehicle Code in other cases of summary offenses and shall have the same rights as to appeal and waiver of hearing.

§ 3-135.13 Record of vehicles impounded; preparation of application to Department of Revenue.

[Ord. No. 9-1978]
A. 
The Bureau of Police shall keep a record of all vehicles impounded and shall be able at all reasonable times to furnish the owners or agents of the owners thereof or lienholders thereon with information as to the place of storage of such vehicles.
B. 
The Bureau of Police shall prepare for presentation to the Commonwealth Secretary of Revenue an application for reimbursement of $10 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for each fifteen-dollar expenditure for removal and towing of abandoned motor vehicles.

§ 3-135.15 Enforcement governed by this chapter.

[Added 11-12-2014 by Ord. No. 13-2014]
A. 
Chapter 3-135 shall be deemed to authorize and empower authorized agents of the City to enforce parking regulations consistent with this chapter and the Traffic Code, in accordance with such provisions or as otherwise authorized by law.
B. 
Nothing in § 3-135.15 shall be deemed to impede the police powers of the City.

§ 3-135.99 Penalty.

Any person who violates the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to the general code penalty, § 1-301.99 of these Codified Ordinances, in addition to the provisions of this chapter.