Published: May 27, 2011 10:33 PM EDT
Updated: May 27, 2011 8:16 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- You may have to pay a company more money to tow your vehicle in Lee County.  Towing companies are asking for a rate increase, the first in 10 years.  They say they need the extra money to stay in business and pay fair wages to employees.

"This is absolutely justified.  Our fuel costs are outrageous, same with insurance costs.   And we are paying more to keep the trucks up and running.  They have a lot of wear and tear," said Brandy Stephenson of Jaimes Towing.  "We want to pay our people a decent wage, they work hard and sometimes in unsafe conditions along the highways.    We also have to keep up an office and a storage lot and have security for the storage lot.    Yes, it costs a lot."

Tow companies want Lee to raise the rates for a basic car tow from 100 dollars to 135.   They want the rate for towing a truck to go from 135 tro 160.    They also want to  charge more for storing vehicles, and for opening the storage lot after 6pm on weekdays and anytime on weekends, to release a vehicle.   "We have to pay someone to come in and open the gates, do the paperwork, and release your car.   It all costs money," said Stephenson.

Christine Welton of Lee Co. has no sympathy for the companies.   "They are a ripoff right now with the current rates!    I mean, how much does it cost to tow a car and store it?   They get enough money already,"  Welton  told WINK News.

Lee commissioners have the final say on any rate increases, probably later this summer.