The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 20, 2013

Clinton marina agreement finalized

Matt Prescott will operate marina

By Scott Levine
Associate Editor

CLINTON — One thing’s for certain. Matt Prescott will be the new manager of the Clinton marina.

Hashing out details of an agreement between Prescott and the city of Clinton wasn’t as clear during Tuesday’s Clinton City Council meeting.

Two amendments within the overall contract failed to achieve full City Council approval during the meeting, causing confusion among some City Council members on what was being voted on during the discussion.

Eventually, a third and fourth amendment received unanimous approval, and the Council, excluding Ward 1 Councilwoman Maggie Klaes’s “no” vote, passed the full contract.

The main sticking point of the contract circulated around providing inventory. The contract offered two choices. The first option granted Prescott, who owns the Candlelight Inn at the marina, with the ability to purchase and sell merchandise at the marina’s store. The city would receive 5 percent of the gross sales of all merchandise sold in the store.

The second option made the city responsible for purchasing merchandise to be sold in the store.

Prescott would provide a list to the city, and the city would purchase the items.

At-Large Councilwoman Jennifer Graf made the first amendment to accept the second option, which Prescott endorsed.

“I would prefer the second option,” Prescott said. “It takes the risk out for us.”

However, during the process of the amendment, the amendment was tagged with restricting the marina from selling alcohol, because the city would not purchase a license to sell alcohol.

The amendment failed on a 4-2 vote, but caused confusion from Council members because of the restriction.

Mayor Mark Vulich also raised concerns about the majority of the risk and liability being against the city, and how that would affect Prescott’s management of the marina.

“There’s no incentive to sell and make a profit,” Vulich said. “I always figured you would need some skin in the game.”

At-Large Councilman John Rowland said he would like to see Prescott stock the marina’s store.

“The store is limited,” Rowland said. “We don’t make much on it. I would like to see Matt stock it and sell it. It’s a no-brainer since we’re losing money on the deal.”

Prescott also mentioned that he has talked with boaters and one item they request is alcohol, which led to another amendment proposed by Graf that would have approved packaged alcohol sales at the store.

This measure would have placed the buying power on Prescott for stocking the shelves with alcohol.

Prescott said he likely wouldn’t see much financial gain from selling alcohol, but it would increase traffic in the store, and patrons may buy more goods in the long run.

However, that amendment failed on a 4-2 vote with Ward 2 Councilwoman Julie Allesee and Klaes voting “yes.”

Eventually, the Council agreed to make the city responsible for purchasing the contents of the store, eliminating the possibility of the marina to sell alcohol.

“This is a work in progress over time,” Rowland said. “Over the first year, we’ll be receptive to changes.”

Prescott’s contract with the city will start May 1, and he will report to the City Services Committee monthly on progress with the marina.