The city towed about 50% more cars last year than in 1985, but income from the towing operation has dropped instead of increasing, Long Beach Auditor Robert E. Fronke reported. Although the city's towing operation is still profitable, net income dropped from $530,000 to $200,000 in the last two years, Fronke said in his audit presented Tuesday to the City Council.
Because the number of vehicles towed jumped from 13,373 in 1985 to 19,379 in 1987, operating expenses increased about 34%. The drop in income was attributed to three factors, including an added emphasis on removing more abandoned cars, which when sold do not cover towing costs, according to the report.
The city has been in the towing business since 1983, when it took over the job of a private contractor to improve service to the Police Department and better protect impounded cars and personal property, city officials said.