Student governments not happy with towing fee cost

By Gus Bode

By Zack Quaintance and Julie Engler

The undergraduate and graduate student governments passed resolutions this week opposing the recent decision to hike the city’s towing fee from $55 to $65.

A study done by Graduate and Professional Student Council found that Carbondale has more towing companies per resident than Urbana-Champaign, home of the University of Illinois’ main campus.


GPSC President Jon Pressley’s research showed that Carbondale has six towing companies and one body shop that tows for about 25,000 people. Urbana-Champaign, with about 100,000 residents, has seven towing companies and two body shops, which charge $80 for towed vehicles.

“Champaign-Urbana has a larger student population,” Pressley said. “It’s also a much larger city. It just doesn’t make sense. There should be less towing companies and not us paying more.”

Undergraduate Student Government President Nate Brown agreed.

“The solution isn’t to raise prices so we can have six towing companies,” Brown said. “The solution is to have less towing companies.”

However, the towing companies see things differently.

Dan Throgmorton, owner of Larry’s Towing Service, said because of inflation and rising operational costs, the increase is vital to staying in business. Throgmorton said he did not know the number of cars he tows each weekend.

“Basically everything’s going to gas,” Throgmorton said. “Everything is going to go up. Everything that is transported will be going up.”


Gas prices rose to almost $3 because of damage to the nation’s oil refineries after Hurricane Katrina struck Tuesday.

City Manager Jeff Doherty said towing prices were as high as $125 before 1997 when the city regulated costs. The $10 increase only applies to city towing.

Some students sided with the towing companies.

“They’re just compensating for their expenses,” said Joe Mitchell, a senior from Calumet City studying electrical engineering. “If I was in business, I would do the same thing.”

Jordan Russell, a graduate student from Pawnee studying business, said his car got towed a few times before he learned his lesson. Now, Russell uses alternatives like walking and parking legally.

Even if Russell’s car did get towed, he does not think student constituency groups could do anything to help him.

“Most of the time what student government does is not worthwhile,” Russell said.

The city council voted of 6-1 Aug. 16 supporting the increase.

“I certainly appreciate the student’s perspective, and as a council member, I try to consider the student perspective along with the other perspectives,” said Councilwoman Sheila Simon, who voted to approve the increase.

Mayor Brad Cole did not return calls for comment.

Reporter Zack Quaintance can be reached at [email protected]

Reporter Julie Engler can be reached at [email protected]