NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Beginning in the early morning hours of February 9, as a blizzard descended on the city, police officers coordinated with the city’s official towing companies to remove parked vehicles from dozens of major thoroughfares.
All in all, police ordered the towing of at least 116 vehicles from city streets designated as snow emergency routes in less than 48 hours.
The city’s police department made at least $2,320 on a $20 administrative fee required of each driver who asks for their car back, according to the city’s response to a public records request.
The $20 fee is in addition to the expensive fees charged by the towing companies. Those companies are not permitted to release the vehicles unless they are presented with documentation from the police department that the administrative fee has been paid .
By comparison, only seventeen city residents took the New Brunswick Parking Authority up on their offer for free parking in five public garages during that same weekend, according to Executive Director Mitch Karon.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.