Class Challenges City’s $40 Towing Fee

     FRESNO (CN) – The City of Fresno is unconstitutionally collecting nearly $1 million a year by charging tow-truck drivers a $40 “referral fee” for every vehicle the city has them tow, a class action claims in Fresno County Court.

     Named plaintiff William Solorzano, whose vehicle was towed, says the $40 fee is an illegal tax. Fresno called it “a new innovative revenue source” in its 2005-06 budget report; it approved the fee in 2004. He claims the city is collecting more than 20,000 such fees each year.
     He claims the city admits it is spending $500,000 of that money each year on police programs, though state law requires that it charge only “the amount necessary to reimburse the public entity for its actual and reasonable costs incurred in connection with the tow program.”
     And he claims that the $40 “fee” is actually a tax, under Proposition 218. Solorzano wants the $40 fee enjoined.
     The putative class is represented by Nathan Miller with Miller & Ayala.

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