Impound lot now a lucrative endeavor

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

Talk about good return on an investment.

For a little more than $30 a month, the city is making thousands from its newly installed impound lot.

Until a couple of months ago, cars hauled away after accidents, DUI arrests or just because they were junkers were held by the towing companies.

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But now, the city has a place to store those cars, and a new source of revenue.

Those whose cars end up in the city lot must pay $80 to drive or have it towed away, with an additional $20 for every 24-hour period the car is on the lot.

However, Ironton Police Department Chief Jim Carey said that those rates are subject to change.

“Right now it’s established, but that could change with gas prices going up and we have to pay the wreckers,” Carey said.

Although that may seem pricey, Carey said those in the impound lot may sometimes be saving money, as the towing companies that used to store the cars had a range of different fees that they charged.

“Also, it’s easier for people rather than search all these different places for their vehicle,” Carey said. “It also helps us keep better track of the vehicles we’re responsible for.”

And, naturally, the city taking charge of it’s own impounding is leading to big earnings according to Carey. Although he hadn’t reviewed the exact numbers, he estimated that the city had collected between $4,000 and $5,000 in the past two months. All of which is earmarked for the police department.

This is all with very little money going out, about $32 per month for additional lighting is the extent of it, and even that isn’t coming from citizens.

“The amazing thing about it is that it hasn’t cost the city anything,” Carey said. “With the money for the lighting, that’s covered by what money we make. So it really hasn’t cost anything to the taxpayers.”

Of course, this all begs the question of why the city didn’t take this action sooner. One of the chief problems with the last impound lot that the city ran was security, with break-ins being fairly common. But with a few new security measures, city officials are hoping that the lot will continue to be more of a help than a hinderance.