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Cactus Towing seeks Scottsdale fee hike

Cactus Towing seeks Scottsdale fee hike

By Ryan Gabrielson, Tribune

May 5, 2006

Cactus Towing is asking Scottsdale for permission to triple its vehicle storage fees for motorists arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence or without a valid license and registration.

The Mesa-based towing firm under investigation for more than a year by the Maricopa County Sheriff s Office over fraud allegations contends the price increase is the same as approved recently in other cities. Cactus also operates in Chandler and Mesa.

The Scottsdale Police Department, which oversees the towing contract, has not signed off on the fee change, which if approved would jump to $15 from $4.50 for each day a vehicle is stored.

Todd DeMasseo, Cactus general manager, said Mesa and Chandler have already approved the higher fees.

Police officials are undecided on whether to grant Cactus request, said Cliff Frey, an assistant city attorney. Frey said Scottsdale police officials have deliberated over the request for weeks. A final decision is expected today.

The price increase is tied to a new state law requiring that the vehicles driven by motorists charged with certain crimes like DUI and driving on a suspended license be impounded for 30 days. The law, which took effect in November, allows tow companies to charge up to $15 a day.

Cactus won Scottsdales largest towing contract last summer by offering to impound the cars that police need moved at a cost of one penny to the motorist. At the time, Cactus competitors alleged that the rate was misleading because the largest expense was simply shifted onto other mandatory services not included in the bid to Scottsdale.

Cactus officials have repeatedly denied the charge and have called Sheriff Joe Arpaios investigation politically

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