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Woodstock residents - $500 Impound Fee!!!

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Woodstock residents - $500 Impound Fee!!!

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
March 31, 2012

This evening I received an email from a resident who informed me of Ord. 12-O-02, passed by our illustrious City Council on January 17, 2012. You've heard all about it; right?

In the Manager's Report No. 450 to the City Council, Item No. 3 was "Adoption of Ordinance 12-O-02 amending the Woodstock City Code regarding vehicle impoundment."

That tells you a lot, doesn't it? And this is exactly why the City Council can ram new laws down your throats without your knowing about it. It's on the Consent Agenda. And, without discussion, the City Council voted 7-0 (unanimously) to sock it to you, as do other some communities, if the police can find a listed reason to arrest you.

What will it cost you to get your car back? $500 Administrative Tow Fee. And that does not include the actual towing fee.

Read the Ordinance on the City's website. Go to www.woodstockil.gov On left side, click on "City Code". On the left side near the top, see Adv Search. Enter "impoundment" and click on Search. Then click on "12-02 Vehicle Impoundment".

It's about all I can do to refrain from hurling some vile words at the City Council for its 7-0 vote on this without discussion. Not one member of the Council had to guts to pull the item for discussion. They just slipped it to you, folks. Why didn't the City Council announce ahead of time that they were scheming to rob you and invite to a City Council meeting to defend yourself???

About two years ago, after reading about Elgin's similar fee (I think it was Elgin), I contacted the City Hall and asked if they had planned to pull a similar crappy stunt in Woodstock. The answer at that time was "No." My, how times change.

What possible reason could there be for jamming a $500 City fee down somebody's throat? Let's say you get stopped for a DUI. The cop can impound your car. Ka-ching. $500. Whether you are later found guilty or not. Will the Woodstock cops impound every car of a drunk driver, even if driven by a wealthy, influential member of the community? Perhaps a County Board member? Even a member of the City Council? Ha! Guess who get to allow a sober passenger to drive his car home?

If I were to express myself candidly to the Mayor and the others on the City Council, I'd use words that others would say shouldn't be used. In this case, they deserve them! I'd use words that might reflect a certain government in World War II or of some parts of the world even today.

Woodstock residents should attend every City Council meeting until those seven wake up and repeal this Ordinance. And the Council should immediately stay enforcement. This City Council has completely lost any respect that I ever had for them.

Just look at the ripple effect here. Whose car do you think is going to get towed? Some Square lawyer's Cadillac? Somebody's Beemer? Some Bull Valley resident's Lexus? Or will it be some average joe's car - a guy who hasn't seen $500 for 5-10 years? A guy who won't be able to pay the $500 OR the towing fee of $100-150 OR the $40/day storage fee. And who will lose his job because he doesn't have transportation to get to work.

Tuesday night, Folks. April 2. 7:00PM at City Hall. You'd better be there. If 100-200 people show up and each one takes his three minutes to unload on the City Council, maybe - just maybe - some sense will be restored to them. This is Woodstock. This is not Newark. or L.A. or Miami. Not that such a law is right there, either. Be there this Tuesday night. And every first and third Tuesday after that!

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