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Council retains exclusive towing contract with Cannelton firm

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

Shur Way wants in on business given to Young's

CANNELTON - "We'd like to do business with your city," Gary Huffines, co-owner of Shur Way Pro Towing in Tell City told members of the Cannelton Board of Public Works and Safety at a regular meeting Feb. 18. He and owner Jeremy Flener were there in an attempt to grow a business they launched nearly a year-and-a-half ago.

The city entered a two-year contract with Young's Used Cars and Wrecker Service of Cannelton last April, and "it's not clear whether it's an exclusive contract," city attorney Chris Goffinet told the board. He wrote to Bill Shaneyfelt, who served as city attorney until the end of the year, and said city officials in office at the time might have intended the contract to be exclusive.

The current city officers could wait until the contract expires in April 2009, then decide what to do, Goffinet suggested.

Huffines said his attorney examined the contract and advised him that for it to be exclusive, it would have to state Young's was to be the sole towing-services provider for the city. "It says only that they'll provide services for the prices stated. Why do we have to wait until that ends?" he asked.

"It depends on how much risk the city wants to take," Goffinet said.

"We have a written opinion from the city's previous attorney," works-board member Adam Goffinet said. "I feel we should go by that."

Mayor Smokey Graves concurred, saying he didn't want to disagree with the city's previous or current attorney.

Huffines said he discussed the issue with the mayor in early January, and "he wants to open Cannelton up to all businesses."

Young's is on a rotation list dispatchers in Tell City use when sending tow trucks to accidents, meaning "they get every other accident (in Tell City)."

In addition to towing charges, set at $45 for in-Cannelton police tows under that city's contract, vehicle-storage charges are set at $20 per day. Mileage is added for out-of-town trips, at 75 cents per mile.

Huffines said Thursday he wasn't satisfied with the works board's response.

"We're pursuing other options," he said.

City leaders have expressed desires in the past, including when they awarded Young's the towing contract, to reserve city business for Cannelton firms. The new mayor feels differently.

"I never understood why Cannelton had an exclusive contract," he said Thursday. "Let's afford everyone the opportunity to do business with the city."