CLINTON — The City Services Committee on Thursday discussed a budget shortfall in the city’s marina improvements project and looked at funding options to fill the deficit.

The city originally went ahead with a budget of $6.1 million at the project’s start in late 2002 and early 2003, but the actual costs will reach $9.5 million, said Clinton Finance Director Deb Neels. The city currently has funding options to cover $8.7 million of the costs, but a shortfall of $540,497 remains in the budget.

Neels brought a few options to the board to help close the gap. One was using a small portion of the $7 million in bonds originally set aside for the city’s bandshell project. Neels said the city can move about $229,000 of the bandshell funds to the marina project. She also recommended the city continue to devote its portion of local hotels/motels taxes to Vision Iowa projects, which the marina falls under. The city could extend the tax’s use for Vision Iowa for another three years, with $220,000 per budget estimated in funding for the marina.

Neels’ last suggested option was using future revenue from the marina restaurant to help fund the shortfall. At-Large Councilman Ron Mallicoat said budgeting use of that revenue is too speculative since the city is still looking for a restaurant to occupy the amenities building at the marina.

“These revenues that they were hoping were only based on speculation,” said Mallicoat.

“Revenues from the rent and also revenues from the profits from the restaurant will be met. We still don’t have a restaurant, but we sure are working hard on it. But until we’ve actually proven that there’s going to be revenues, some source one way or the other, I think it’s kind of hard to count on that. You’ve got to get it first.”

Mallicoat is the liaison for an ad hoc committee recently formed by the city council to find an owner and investors for the top floor of the amenities building. He declined at the meeting to discuss specific progress made in finding a restaurateur for the space.

“This ad hoc committee had our fourth meeting today, and we’re working seriously on this and making progress,” said Mallicoat. “At this point, there’s really not much to talk about.”

The City Services Committee recommended bringing discussion of the marina project budget shortfall to the next Committee of the Whole meeting of the city council, scheduled for Sept. 22.

In other action, the committee briefly discussed uses for the estimated $270,000 it will receive for a streets project from the State of Iowa’s I-JOBS funding initiative. The initiative was signed into law in May, with the focus of boosting the statewide economy. Jason Craft, an engineer for the city of Clinton, will come up with a street project recommendation for the funds to present at the next Committee of the Whole meeting.

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