Taylor re-examines agreement with controversial towing company

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EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story said that the city of Taylor voted to limit the contract length with Area Towing and Recovery.  A resolution was defeated to limit the contract to a review after each year.

There is no current proposal or agreed-upon extension at this time. No annual limit has been put on any contract thus far, according to the city and there is no new contract currently. 

--Original story is below--

For 20 years the towing on behalf of the city of Taylor was handled by one company, Area Towing.

But on Tuesday the city council held a special session and decided to restructure the way they awarded contracts, because some say the owner of the towing company isn't on the up and up.

Taylor City Councilman Herman "Butch" Ramik is not shy with how he feels about Shane Anders, the owner of Area Towing. 

"How can you award somebody a major, very large contract - and award him that, after what he's done to the people and the visitors of this community," Ramik said. 

Some residents came forward to voice their displeasure at City Hall Tuesday prior to the vote.

"He's already got his foot in the door," said one resident. "He's held us hostage for all these years."

Another resident spoke about the city council's knowledge of all the atrocities the company has committed in the past.

Ramik said he "has a stack of complaints" he has heard about the towing company over the years.

He says it’s his job to listen to the citizens and he says, they have a lot about the tow company. 

Anders, the owner of Area Towing, says he's never been contacted to resolve any of those complaints.  He is however named in an FBI investigation.
Anders himself wouldn't respond to the specific allegations on the record, but he did send FOX 2 a sworn affidavit from his lawyer stating he is not the target of a federal investigation.  

It says "Area Towing has been providing service for the city for two decades ... and will likely have every opportunity to continue to tow for the city in the future."

The question put before city council Tuesday was the length of the Area Towing contract. Should it be a three-year towing contract with option to extend it to nine or as Mayor Rick Sollars offered, put the contract up for bid each and every year. 

"Everything we do is about continuous improvement," Sollars said. "I think this is one of those opportunities."

The argument made for three years was based on keeping a fair price in place for longer. On the other hand, some argued putting it up for bid each year promotes competition. 

"It keeps everyone honest," Sollars said. "So I think we'll solve our long term problems and we hope to stay in this contract."