Fort Dodge City Council members must decide which company will answer the call when a police officer needs a tow truck to haul away a wrecked or disabled vehicle.
Ponderosa Towing, of Fort Dodge, has provided that service for about 20 years under a series of contracts with the city.
The latest of those contracts will expire this year, and Ponderosa Towing faces competition from Mid-Iowa Towing, of Fort Dodge, for the new contract.
After receiving proposals from both firms, Police Department leaders gave each company a numerical grade based on contractural service costs, towing equipment and capabilities, contractor responsibilities, storage facilities and abandoned vehicle disposal method. Mid- Iowa Towing received a score of 90, while Ponderosa Towing received a score of 85.
However, Police Chief Tim Carmody recommended that Ponderosa Towing receive a new two-year contract.
''This was a very close competition,'' Carmody told the City Council Monday.
''We have had a long-standing relationship with Ponderosa and the experience that we have had so far has been good,'' he added. ''We're confident that both companies can do the job. What pushed it over the edge is that long relationship.''
Dani Rees, co-owner of Mid-Iowa Towing, told the council that her company has the drivers and equipment to handle any situation.
''There's nothing we can't tackle,'' she said.
No one addressed the council on behalf of Ponderosa Towing.
Councilman Dean Hill made a motion that the contract be awarded to Ponderosa Towing. No other council member would second that motion, so no action was taken.
Mayor Matt Bemrich said the issue will be revisited at the next council meeting.
While most contracts awarded by the City Council include a total price, that's not the case for the towing contract. The towing contract is based on individual fees for towing and vehicle storage which are paid by the vehicle owners.
A complete list of both company's prices wasn't available Monday.
The portion of the contract that would have the most effect on the city budget is the cost of towing a police vehicle. Ponderosa Towing would charge $10 while Mid-Iowa Towing would charge $35.
In other business Monday, the council endorsed the strategic plan of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.
Dennis Plautz, the chief executive officer of the economic development group, said its strategic plan is consistent with the city's Envision 2030 plan.
''Our plan isn't some separate document you're endorsing,'' he said.
''It seems to me that for the first time the community is coming together more than ever before and that's leading to the success that we've been having,'' he said.