[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Jefferson 12-1-2004 by Ord. No. 32-04. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 456, Towing, adopted 2-3-1982 by Ord. No. 2-82 (Ch. 122 of the 1967 Code), as amended 4-14-1993 by Ord. No. 6-93.
The Police Department of the Township of Jefferson is hereby authorized to compile a list of all towing operators for inclusion upon a structured rotation list to be notified to assist disabled vehicles within the Township of Jefferson and which disablement calls for assistance by or through the Jefferson Township Police Department. The Police Department is further authorized to amend and supplement the rotation list from time to time.
The rotation list will be for one full year from January 1 to December 31 or a three-hundred-sixty-five-day calendar year set forth by the Chief of Police or his designee.
All towing operators shall be required to meet the following minimum qualifications to be included on the rotation list:
Class A towing operators. "Class A towing operators" are herein defined as towing operators engaged in the removal and storage of passenger cars, vans, minivans, motorcycles, pickup trucks and like vehicles. All Class A towing operators to be included on the rotation list must own or lease and have available at least two tow trucks, minimum of one flatbed, in addition to other equipment which is necessary to provide safe and efficient towing.
Class B towing operators. "Class B towing operators" are herein defined as towing operators engaged in the removal and storage of buses, tractor-trailers and like vehicles not covered under class A. All Class B towing operators to be included on the rotation list must own or lease a suitable heavy-duty truck in addition to other equipment needed to provide a safe and efficient towing.
All towing vehicles shall be a minimum of 3/4 ton and shall have dual wheels or equivalent and shall be maintained in safe working order.
All towing vehicles shall have a three-hundred-sixty-degree working amber light with applicable permit.
All towing vehicles shall have the name, address and telephone numbers of the towing operator listed on the side of the vehicle with a minimum of four-inch letters.
All towing vehicles shall be equipped with two-way radio communications and other communication equipment enabling them to maintain contact with their place of business.
All towing vehicles shall be equipped with brooms, shovels and other sufficient equipment for the purpose of clearing debris off the roadway.
Towing operator's base of service. Any person, firm, corporation or partnership who is placed upon the rotation list established by the Jefferson Township Police Department shall maintain a principal place of operation within the Township. The principal place of operation shall conform to a legally approved zoning and or site plan and shall comply fully with all of the Township's zoning, land use and property maintenance codes. Failure to comply with the Township's zoning, land use and property maintenance codes may subject the operator to suspension from the rotational duty service list upon request to the Chief of Police from the Township's Construction Official, Zoning Officer or Property Maintenance Officer.
[Amended 2-16-2005 by Ord. No. 4-05]
Nothing herein shall preclude a towing operator from storing his towing vehicles and equipment at another location outside the boundaries of the Township, provided the operator can maintain the response requirements.
The towing operator shall have a storage facility within the corporate boundaries of the Township of Jefferson, which can accommodate a minimum of 10 medium-sized vehicles. The storage facility shall be lighted and fenced with a minimum of a six-foot-high fence. This will be done to prevent a vehicle from being removed by unauthorized means.
All towing operators shall carry automobile liability insurance in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limits, bodily injury and property damage per occurrence. Garage keepers liability insurance shall be carried in an amount not less than $60,000 per location. Garage liability shall be kept in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit, bodily damage or property damage per occurrence, including premises operations and products/completed operations. Workmen's compensation shall be maintained as required by statute. Liability policies shall be specifically endorsed and provide coverage for the vehicles in tow. The municipality shall be named as an additional insured on all policies. A certificate showing these coverages shall be required.
The operator shall keep regular business hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Saturdays. The operator may close on Sundays and holidays.
Duties of approved towing operators.
A towing operator shall immediately dispatch tow vehicles when requested by the police dispatcher to respond to emergency situations. The towing operator shall respond promptly to the scene. Upon normal driving conditions during the day the response time should be 20 minutes and 30 minutes during night time hours. Day and night time are determined as follows:
A towing operator shall not permit a vehicle to be removed without proper authorization.
A towing operator's drivers shall request such police assistance during course of service as safe towing practice necessitates.
A towing operator shall be available at or through a telephone number 24 hours per day while on call.
A towing operator shall advise the desk officer if the towing operator is unable to respond and the reason therefore.
A towing operator shall check with emergency personnel and police officer before taking any action to tow.
A towing operator shall assist emergency personnel as needed in extrication of injured via winching, stability, etc., at the direction of emergency personnel or police officer.
A towing operator shall remove glass and other debris from the accident on the roadway and dispose of it properly.
A towing operator shall remove a vehicle from the scene to a specified location when so designated by an investigating officer.
A towing operator shall be available to release vehicles at a minimum from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Saturdays. No towing operator shall release a vehicle without a release slip from the Jefferson Township Police Department.
The towing operator shall, at his own expense, prepare on a three-inch-by-five-inch card, posting his rate schedule and time of operation along with his phone number and procedure to pick up the vehicle to be distributed to vehicle owners.
Tow vehicles shall be equipped at all times with safety vests for operators and must be worn at all times while out of the vehicle, first aid kits, hand tools, flashlights, fire extinguishers and additional equipment needed for the safety of the operator. The vehicle owner shall not be charged for the use of these items.
Fluid absorption material which the owner of the vehicle may be charged for, but no more than $20 a bag.
Tow vehicles shall be kept in a clean and neat appearance and meet all obligations of Title 39 of New Jersey law.
All towing operators placed upon the rotational service duty list shall be utilized by the Police Department for the purposes of notifying towing operators to assist disabled vehicles within the Township of Jefferson.
The following is the fee schedule for basic automobile services:
Motorcycle and motorized bikes rate: $70.
Basic heavy-duty towing (16,001 pounds and over).
Rate $300 per hour, one hour minimum billed in thirty-five-minute increments.
[Amended 9-5-2007 by Ord. No. 20-07]
Shaft removal: $45.
Brake release: $45.
Mileage fee of $3.50 per mile from the point of the tow to the towers yard (loaded mile) types of vehicles.
Tractor-trailers: $450 per hour of towing, one-hour minimum, billed in thirty-five minute increments.
[Added 9-5-2007 by Ord. No. 20-07]
Fee schedule for storage services for all types of vehicles.
Rates for recovery and winching.
Class A: $80 per hour billed in 1/2 hour increments.
Class B: $150 per hour billed in 1/2 hour increments.
Additional manpower other than the initial driver: $60 per hour per man billed in thirty-minute increments.
Winching and recovery will not be charged on normal on the roadway tows that do not require any extra equipment and personnel not normally used. Example would be a vehicle on its roof in the middle of the roadway with no obstructions or out of the ordinary conditions.
All bills will be itemized and be require for inspection upon any complaint or investigation. A copy of the bill will be given to all motorists.
The rates specified in this chapter represent the maximum rates allowable. It shall be unlawful for any tower to charge a rate in excess of the rates prescribed.
Rates will be evaluated on a yearly basis and will be changed as current economic conditions dictate.
Any other specialized equipment needed will be charged at the prevailing rates.
[Added 1-21-2009 by Ord. No. 1-09]
Whenever a vehicle is placed in storage, and because of extensive damage to the vehicle specialized equipment is needed in order to move the vehicle, secure the vehicle, drain fluids or absorb fluids that have been leaking, the towing operator shall have a right, in addition to usual and customary charges, to charge a yard fee. Said yard fee may be charged in the following instances, but shall not be limited to these incidences:
Prying open damaged hoods with heavy equipment to cut battery cables to prevent fire, or to drain flammable fluids.
Lifting damaged vehicles to drain leaking gas tanks, transmissions or radiators.
Applying absorbent material under the vehicle to absorb any spills.
Moving vehicles that do not have keys or that are so badly damaged they need special equipment to remove them from a tow vehicle or to move them around a storage lot.
Providing covers for vehicles that need to be stored that have windows blown out or need to be sheltered from the elements.
The yard fee shall be in increments of 1/2 hour at the rate of $40 per half hour and there shall be a minimum charge for every yard fee of $40.
All bills for a yard fee shall be itemized and be available for inspection upon any complaint or investigation. A copy of the bill will be given to all owners of the vehicle or entities or persons paying the charges.
The Chief of Police shall have the power to suspend a towing operator from the rotational duty service list for a period up to 30 calendar days for failure to comply with any section of this chapter. A subsequent violation may result in the permanent removal of a towing operator from the rotational duty service list for a period of 12 months. A towing operator may appeal the Chief's ruling of either a suspension or permanent removal. In such cases, an appeal may be filed with the Township Administrator's office within 10 business days of the Chief's decision. A hearing may be held by the Jefferson Township Administrator's office within 30 days of the appeal. The Jefferson Township Administrator's office shall render its determination within 20 business days following the conclusion of the hearing. The Administrator's office determination as rendered shall be final and conclusive under this chapter.
In addition, failure to comply with the Townships zoning, land use and property maintenance codes may subject any operator to suspension from the rotational service duty list upon request to the Chief of Police from the Townships zoning, land use or property maintenance office. Any towing operator suspended for the violations of Township codes set forth shall have the right to due process and appeal as set forth in Subsection A above.
Complaints of any kind. Service complaints, overcharging, theft of parts, damage to towed vehicles, discourteous treatment, motor vehicle violations or complaints and the like shall be referred to the Police Department for investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, a written report by the investigating officer shall be forwarded to the Chief of Police with a recommendation for either no action or action against the towing operator. The Chief of Police shall have the power to suspend and the towing operator and shall have the right of due process as set forth in Subsection A above.
An individual or entity seeking placement on the rotational service duty list shall be required to submit an application and receive the approval of the Chief of Police.
All applicants are required to complete a form furnished by the Police Department, providing any and all information needed.
Each towing operator must be able to demonstrate to the Township that he is thoroughly qualified and experienced in the towing and removal of vehicles of the class in which he requests to tow and that he has adequate facilities, equipment, expertise, licensing and personnel to perform the services required by these specifications in a manner satisfactory to the Jefferson Township Police Department.
The Jefferson Township Police shall conduct a background check of the towing contractor, its officers and employees prior to making a determination of placement upon the rotational service duty list. High incident of accidents or persistent violators in either criminal or motor vehicle laws may warrant the Chief of Police to determine a driver or employee ineligible. A conviction for any felony will be ample reason to disqualify any contractor unless waived by the Township upon application and for good cause. Any changes to the tower's employment list that will affect the towing in Jefferson Township must be reported immediately to the Chief's office.
Approved operators shall keep accurate books and records of all towing and storage services provided hereunder for a period of seven years from the date of such storage and towing services rendered. Approved towers shall make these books and records available to the Township on request.
Subcontractors are not permitted under any circumstances unless approved by the Chief of Police or emergency situations.
If a subcontractor is approved, they must comply with all provisions of this chapter.
The towing operator shall submit, along with all applicable paperwork, an application fee of $100 which may be returned if approval is not given.
The Township shall employ no less than two but no more than four separate contractors to tow.
The towing operator shall determine what area of the Township he wishes to tow. These areas are defined as follows:
Milton Area: all areas within the Township of Jefferson east of Berkshire Valley Road/Taylor Road intersections and east of a point on Weldon Road at Saffin's Pond.
Lake Hopatcong Area: all areas within the Township of Jefferson west of the Berkshire Valley Road/Taylor Road intersection and west of a point on Weldon Road at Saffin's Pond.
All applicants shall make available to the Township whether they wish to be a Class A or Class B operator or both.
All applicants shall submit, along with all applicable paperwork, an amber light permit from the state of New Jersey for each vehicle used.
All applicants shall submit, along with all applicable paperwork, any other information needed to conduct any investigation for approval to be placed upon the rotational service duty list, determined to be needed by the Chief of Police or his designee.
Upon acceptance of application, the towing company shall, by appointment, present all vehicles to determine conformity to this chapter. These vehicles will be presented all at the same time and inspected for, but not limited to, registration, insurance, inspection, lights and other safety devices. Diesel stickers will also be inspected where applicable.