Why Wauconda is looking to increase auto impound fees

  • Wauconda Police Chief David Wermes

    Wauconda Police Chief David Wermes

 
 
Updated 12/20/2017 6:00 PM

Wauconda officials are considering making drivers pay more to retrieve cars that have been impounded after arrests for drunken driving and some other crimes.

Police Chief David Wermes has requested the village's administrative impound fee increase in most cases to $500, from $250.

 

That's on top of the $250 towing fee and $75-a-day storage fee charged by Mike's Towing Auto & Truck Repair, the Wauconda company that handles such jobs for the police department.

The administrative fee is supposed to offset expenses incurred by the police department as the result of an arrest, such as paying officers for time they spend in court on a case and the arrest-processing work done by an administrative assistant.

But those expenses "far surpass" the current $250 fee, Wermes said in his memo.

A survey of other suburban police departments indicated many charge $500 or more when cars are impounded, Wermes said.

According to the department's data, police in Island Lake, Hoffman Estates and Streamwood are among those that charge a $500 administrative fee. Wood Dale police charge $600.

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Conversely, Antioch and South Elgin police are among those that charge $250, documents indicate.

On average, Wauconda police impound vehicles after arrests for drunken driving, drug possession or weapons charges 62 times a year, Wermes said.

Doubling the fee could generate an additional $10,000 to $15,000 annually, he said.

The impound fee for motorists charged with driving with a suspended license or not having a valid license would remain $250, Wermes said.

Wauconda Trustee Tim Howe insisted village officials aren't increasing the impound fee to create a financial profit. Rather, officials want to ensure the cost of processing these arrests "are borne by the offender and not the taxpayer," Howe said.

The village board discussed the proposal Tuesday night but delayed a vote until Jan. 16 so language explaining the administrative hearing process could be added.

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