Borough of Collingswood, NJ
Camden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Borough of Collingswood 10-6-2003 by Ord. No. 1325. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Police Department — See Ch. 57.
Abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 285.
The purpose of this chapter is to set forth regulations governing operators engaged in the business of removing and storing motor vehicles in the Borough of Collingswood. The Borough has determined that such regulations are in the best interest of the residents of the Borough of Collingswood and comply with New Jersey statutes governing the removal of unauthorized vehicles from public and private property, N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.49 through 40:48-2.55, and the New Jersey Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings:
ABANDONED
All meanings that are given to such term pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:1-1 et seq.
MOTOR VEHICLE
All meanings that are given to such term pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:1-1, et seq.
OPERATOR
All towing and/or storage companies contracting or seeking to contract with the Borough of Collingswood for the removal and/or storage of motor vehicles in the Borough.
The Borough shall select and contract with operator(s) to remove from private or public property and to store motor vehicles which are disabled, stolen, abandoned or involved in suspected criminal activity. The bid process and contracts with the operators shall comply with one of the methods set forth in this section.
A. 
Contracts without public bidding. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5(1)(u), the Borough may contract for the removal and storage of motor vehicles without the need for public bidding if such contracts include reasonable nonexclusionary and nondiscriminatory terms and conditions, including the provision of such services on a rotating basis at the rates and charges set forth in § 282-5.
B. 
Contracts as a result of public bidding. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5(1)(u), all contracts for the removal and storage of motor vehicles containing rates and terms other than those as provided in Subsection A shall only be entered into by the Borough with the lowest responsible bidder after the public bidding requirements contained in the Local Public Contract Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1, et seq., have been satisfied. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-15(22), a contract awarded pursuant to this Subsection B shall be awarded for a term not exceeding three years.
The Borough shall be authorized to engage the services of an operator to perform the following services:
A. 
Removal.
(1) 
The operator shall be required to respond to Borough Police Department calls to remove vehicles involved in accidents or suspected criminal activity or which are disabled, reported stolen or abandoned. Notification to the operator shall follow the procedures set forth in Chapter 285, Vehicles, Abandoned, of the Borough Code.
(2) 
The operator shall be available to receive calls from the Borough Police Department seven days a week, 24 hours each day. The operator shall have the appropriate vehicle on the scene anywhere within the Borough limits within 20 minutes from time of notification, under normal conditions, to remove disabled or abandoned vehicles unless the Borough Police Department determines it is not a threat to vehicle traffic or persons and may be removed during regular business hours. In the case of an accident, the operator must arrive at the scene within 20 minutes, under normal conditions, after notification from the Borough Police Department. Removal of the vehicle shall be performed under the direct supervision of the Borough Police Department.
(3) 
In the event that the operator has been summoned by the Borough for the purpose of towing a vehicle and the owner of the vehicle as well as the owner's tower arrive at the scene prior to removal of the vehicle by the operator, then, and in that event, the owner is entitled to remove his or her vehicle.
(4) 
The owner of private property will be responsible for the removal of any unattended or disabled vehicle from his or her property in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:4-5 and 36:4-56.6, and may employ a towing contractor of his or her choice. However, the Borough Police Department reserves the right to impound a motor vehicle and authorize towing pursuant to this chapter if any such vehicle has been reported as stolen or having been used in the commission of suspected criminal activity or otherwise must be secured for investigative purposes.
B. 
Storage.
(1) 
Motor vehicles that are removed by order of the Borough Police Department must be delivered to an area owned or leased by the operator that complies with the specifications established by the Borough.
(2) 
No removed vehicle may be parked upon a public street. All removed vehicles must be stored by the operator within an approved storage area.
(3) 
All vehicles, regardless of condition, must be stored in an area on the operator's property that will allow for inspection and subsequent removal.
(4) 
Except in the case of removing and storing an abandoned motor vehicle pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:10A-1 and Chapter 285, Vehicles, Abandoned, of the Borough Code, within 24 hours of receiving a vehicle the operator shall notify, by letter, phone or in person, the owner of the removed vehicle of the daily cost of storage as well as the location of the vehicle and the removal procedures. If the operator determines, after reasonable efforts that it is not able to notify the vehicle owner, it shall immediately inform the Borough Police Department of this fact and the basis for such determination.
(5) 
Vehicles that are designated as abandoned by the Borough Police Department will be towed to a storage lot owned or leased by the operator. However, the Borough shall retain the right to have abandoned vehicles towed to Borough-owned property and pay the operator the appropriate towing fee. Notification to the owner will be provided by the Borough Police Department pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:10A-1.
(6) 
The Borough shall not be responsible for any charges for any vehicle stored under the provisions of this chapter.
C. 
Records and inspection.
(1) 
The operator shall maintain records of all vehicles towed, stored and released by it pursuant to its contract with the Borough. Records shall be maintained for no less than the twelve-month period following the expiration of the contract with the Borough.
(2) 
The operator shall maintain a record provided by the Borough Police Department of all property found anywhere in a towed vehicle, including the trunk and glove compartment, if open or key available, and the operator shall be responsible to safeguard and release the contents to the owner.
(3) 
The Chief of the Borough Police Department, or his designee, shall be permitted access to any part of the storage area, including both indoor and outdoor areas, at any time of the day or night for inspection purposes.
(4) 
Authorized representatives of the Borough Police Department shall have access to any of the records required to be maintained by the operator.
(5) 
Vehicle owners shall have the right to remove their property from the stored vehicle unless otherwise directed by the Borough Police Department. The vehicle owner or his or her representative shall have the right to take photos of a stored vehicle for insurance purposes.
D. 
Release of impounded/towed motor vehicles.
(1) 
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 on Saturdays, except on legal holidays. The operator shall provide the Borough Police Department with a list of the legal holidays, on an annual basis, when vehicles will not be available for release.
(2) 
The approved rates for services performed under the contract with the Borough shall be posted in a conspicuous place, visible to the public, at the operator's storage/garage area.
(3) 
The operator shall be required to prepare an invoice for charges pertaining to each towed and/or stored vehicle to be presented to the claimant of each vehicle. The invoice shall itemize all services rendered.
(4) 
The Borough shall not be responsible for the payment of any charges due and owing from a claimant of a vehicle, nor shall it be responsible to assist the operator in collecting any such charges.
(5) 
The operator shall not release a vehicle pursuant to its contract with the Borough until such time that a claimant provides a release for the vehicle that he or she has obtained from the Borough Police Department, a paid receipt by the Borough Clerk evidencing that all amounts owed to the Borough connected with the removal, towing and storage of such vehicle have been fully paid pursuant to § 285-7 of the Borough Code and proof of ownership of the vehicle.
E. 
Disposal of unclaimed vehicles.
(1) 
The operator shall notify the Borough Police Department of any vehicles that remain unclaimed on its lot for at least 30 days.
(2) 
The Borough Police Department, with the assistance of the operator, may secure any motor vehicle junk titles. A motor vehicle not claimed by its owner will be disposed of in accordance with New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission regulations or as otherwise permitted pursuant to applicable New Jersey statutes.
(3) 
Abandoned vehicles may be disposed of as set forth in N.J. S.A. 39:10A-1, 39:10A-2 and 39:10A-3. No charges or liens shall accrue against the Borough for the towing or storage of unclaimed or abandoned vehicles. All funds collected from the sale of abandoned vehicles will be first applied toward the towing and storage charges for any such vehicle with the balance, if any, retained by the Borough. In addition, the operator shall have the right to bid on such vehicles at the time of public sale by the Borough.
(4) 
The Borough shall retain the right to sell any abandoned vehicle towed to Borough-owned property and to retain any funds collected from the sale of such vehicles.
A. 
Whether the contract for towing of motor vehicles and storage is entered into by the Borough pursuant to § 282-3A or B, the operator may not charge rates in excess of the usual, customary and reasonable rates of operators for towing and storing motor vehicles pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.54.
B. 
The maximum rates which can be charged by operators shall comply with any guidelines established by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety. Unless the Borough otherwise agrees, no amount for removal, storage or any other service provided by the operator may be charged to the Borough. In the event that the Borough agrees to pay the operator for storage of removed motor vehicles, such expense for storage shall not exceed any limits established by law, including the limits set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.50 or any successor statutes.
C. 
In no event shall any operator charge rates nor provide services in a manner which discriminates against or excludes any person or group of persons in violation of any applicable law. If any municipally owned vehicles require towing, there shall be no charge to the Borough.
The following minimum standards shall be required of all operators seeking to contract with the Borough for towing and storage services:
A. 
Equipment.
(1) 
The operator must maintain the following equipment:
(a) 
One heavy-duty wrecker, over ten-ton capacity.
(b) 
One medium-duty wrecker, ten-ton capacity.
(c) 
One light-duty wrecker, four-ton capacity.
(d) 
One flatbed truck.
(2) 
Wreckers used by the operator must be of such construction to tow any type of vehicle and to pass inspection of the Borough Police Department.
(3) 
Each vehicle shall be equipped with a shovel, broom and any other equipment necessary to clean up broken glass and any other debris from the scene of an accident. It shall be the operator's responsibility to clean up such debris if requested to do so by any officer of the Borough Police Department at the scene of the accident.
(4) 
Wreckers shall be maintained in good condition, comply with all applicable provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:1-1 et seq., available 24 hours a day and identified on each side with the name and address of the operator.
(5) 
At the time of submission of its bid, the operator shall submit to the Borough satisfactory proof of ownership of the required number of wreckers necessary to meet the Borough's requirements.
B. 
Land. The operator must provide proof to the Borough that it owns or leases a storage area capable of storing a minimum of 25 vehicles. The storage area must be in the Borough and no more than five miles from the Collingswood Police Station for the convenience of owners of towed vehicles and the Borough Police Department. If the operator is the property owner of the storage area, it is to submit with its bid a certified copy of the deed to the property. If the operator leases the storage area, a copy of the lease, including a legal description of the property, shall be submitted with the bid. The lease term must extend for a period no less than six months beyond the proposed expiration date of the contract to be entered with the Borough for the services to be provided. The storage area must be enclosed with a fence of sturdy construction, measure no less than six feet in height and be able to be secured when unattended.
C. 
Alternative arrangements. A proposal for the services to be provided under this chapter may be made jointly by separate companies, one in the towing business which can meet all the requirements of this chapter and the other owning or leasing property containing a storage facility which meets all the requirements for storing towed vehicles. Any such proposal must provide that the owner/operator of the storage facility shall be responsible for receiving the required payment for towing and storage. Proof of a written agreement or of an agreement which is conditioned on the award of the contract by the Borough must be submitted with any bid. The service, equipment and storage facility are subject to periodic inspections and approval by the Borough.
A designated representative of the Borough Police Department shall enforce the requirements of this chapter as well as the terms and conditions of any contract entered into by the Borough for the services to be provided and to receive complaints from owners of motor vehicles that have been towed and stored in the Borough without their consent. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.54, an individual who has had his or her motor vehicle towed and stored in the Borough without his or her consent shall be entitled to contest the removal, storage and/or rates charged. The complaining individual shall submit his or her objection in writing to the designated representative of the Borough Police Department within seven days of the contested action. The written objection must detail the nature of the dispute, including the time, place, date and rates charged, as well as any other information which may aid in resolution. Within 14 days, the designated representative of the Borough Police Department shall respond in writing to the complainant.
The rates and charges in effect within the Borough, as established in § 282-5 of this chapter and the complaint procedures set forth in § 282-7 of this chapter shall be posted during normal business hours in the office of the Borough Clerk, the Borough Police Department and the offices of any operators contracting with the Borough.