The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

November 29, 2012

City looks at marina operations

By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — Officials are debating the future direction of the Clinton marina. 

Specifically, whether operation and management should be handled through an outside contractor or if they should be brought in-house.  

On Tuesday, the City Council voted to inform current managers Skipper Marine Development (Skipper Buds) that they would not renew the current contract for another five years.

The contract runs through April 30, but boats start going in on April 1, by which time a new operator/manager would need to be in place.

The City Services Committee on Wednesday floated the idea of bringing management and operation in house by hiring a marina manager who would be a city employee.

Clinton Municipal Airport Manager Mike Nass attended the meeting to share the experience of his facility, which went through a similar change nine years ago.  Now, Nass, a city employee, reports to the airport commission in order to make sure he is doing a job the city is satisfied with.

“We had the marina operating up there, but who did they report to? I think that was part of the problem.” committee member John Rowland said.

However, an airport commission is required, while a marina commission is not, City Attorney Jeff Farwell said.

The committee also discussed using the method employed before: putting out a request for proposal on the operation and management for outside contractors and companies.  

“I believe we need this professionally managed by people in this business, not a do it yourself job again, because that just does not work,” committee member Bev Hermann said.

“This is a brand new marina, five years old...I think we would be making a big mistake if we took a step backwards.”

Farwell stated the city also could put out an RFP for marina operation and management and then draft a proposal itself to see how it compares to outside companies who submit proposals.  

Committee members discussed the need for changes to the most recent lease, job description and RFP in order to increase the accountability of whomever is chosen to run the marina.

While language from the current lease would be used in the future lease, more detail will be needed, officials stated.  

“There are a lot of words in this contract, but very few specifics,” Hermann said.

While they debated the best method for running the marina, they agreed the marina operator should be in charge of the RV Park and storage building.  

An RFP will be drafted for the committee to review at its next meeting.