HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — The township wants the state's municipal lobbying arm to help it change New Jersey's tow laws.
The Township Committee passed a resolution at its Tuesday night meeting requesting the New Jersey League of Municipalities support the township's drive to clarify state towing law, something that has long bedeviled township officials.
Mayor Amy Gatto said she told Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno about the township's problems when Guadagno visited Mays Landing last week.
At issue is a bill drafted by township Solicitor Robert Sandman that would clearly allow towns the right to sell cars that it has towed, after storing them for 30 days.
The issue arose several years ago after Hamilton Township police ordered a car towed that had a number of overdue parking tickets. After waiting what township officials thought was an appropriate amount of time, the township sold the vehicle.
The owner then sued, and the township settled for about $1,800.
State law lists conditions when officials may tow and sell vehicles and when they can just tow them. The suit effectively put the brakes on sales, because officials were concerned they lacked the authority to sell some vehicles.
Now, township officials and tow operators say they are stuck. Tow lots are running out of space, while it remains unclear if the township can sell off all of these cars.
Local legislators have tried to help out.
Assemblyman John Amodeo and Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, proposed Sandman's bill in the General Assembly in January 2012. It cleared the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee in October 2012, but a final vote appears unlikely.
Amodeo said the Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said she was concerned a person could lose their car over parking tickets, something Amodeo said was out of the question.
Contact Derek Harper:
Follow Derek Harper on Twitter @dnharper