A new towing company will be responding whenever Fort Dodge police officers need a vehicle hauled away.
The City Council on Monday hired Mid-Iowa Towing, of Fort Dodge, to provide that service for the next two years.
That company will replace Ponderosa Towing, of Fort Dodge, which has provided that service for about 20 years under a series of contracts with the city.
The current two-year contract expires this year.
After receiving proposals from both companies, Police Department leaders gave each one a numerical grade based on contractual 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 based in part on the city's long record with that company.
That recommendation came before the council on Feb. 24, but the elected officials took no action at that time.
''I think they're both very qualified,'' Mayor Matt Bemrich said Monday evening.
Councilmen Dave Flattery and Jeffrey Halter both said that Mid-Iowa Towing received a higher numerical grade than Ponderosa Towing.
Halter added that the fees of Mid-Iowa Towing are in many cases lower than those of Ponderosa Towing.
''Most price differences favor Mid-Iowa,'' he said after the meeting.
Those prices are paid by the owners of the vehicles that are towed.
Councilman Terry Moehnke prepared a multi-page detailed summary of each company's fees, which shows the differences in prices.
The cost of towing an all-wheel drive vehicle is one area in which the companies differ. Mid-Iowa Towing will charge $40 for that job. Ponderosa Towing would charge $65, which includes a $40 basic towing fee and $25 for the use of dollies needed to lift one set of the vehicle's wheels off the ground.
No one from either company addressed the council Monday.