County refuses to rebid pier contract

Posted on January 15, 2016 by Deborah Nelson

Santa Rosa Commissioners, Thursday, voted to transfer a number of Navarre Pier management company expenses to the county, but stopped short of putting the job out for rebid.
The county will now fund a pier employee to collect gate receipts; and will pay for trash collection, maintenance, utilities and supplies for public restroom and pier areas.
The employee would cost about $12 per hour, 30 to 35 hours a week, Coastal Concessions co-owner Stephanie Maddox said. The county will reimburse the company for those labor costs.
County employees who currently collect walkover garbage may also begin emptying pier trash.

Coastal Concession management had originally proposed the County return $10,000 per month in credits and cover pier and restroom lights and water; or the County cover maintenance, labor, lights and water; or the County split labor costs with Coastal Concessions.
Pier operators are required return all admission revenues directly to the County.
As of January 6, the company still owed the County some $7,000 in underreported gate fees & sales; plus $11,000 in late fees and about $29,000 in utilities the County paid by mistake, per the Clerk of Courts.
To help ensure admissions and concession money isn’t co–mingled, Coastal Concessions will set up a separate joint account for county gate receipt money to ensure funds remain separate.
“I like the idea of a direct deposit account, I think it’ll make it easier on the Clerk’s office and on your operations,” Clerk of Courts Don Spencer said.
Officials will consider reducing outstanding utilities bills, late fees and startup cost reimbursement later in the year.
The contract stipulated the facility would be in “turnkey” condition when the management company took it over, but company owners say they spent almost $180,000 on rebuilds and substandard equipment replacement to bring it up to par.
Coastal Concessions also asked the Board to reimburse the first three months of FY 2016 gate fee collection labor costs, but Commissioners declined.
Officials said the changes don’t create enough deviations from the contract to rebid.
“We are two years into a three year contract and we’re going to be going forward probably in the next 10 months with RFPs to alter it,” County Attorney Roy Andrews noted.
Commissioners indicated they were willing to work with Coastal Concessions to solve the company’s financial issues.
“What can be done to give them some assurance on those hard expenses,” Commissioner Rob Williamson said.
“This is the final year, we’ve got between February and the end of this contract to determine is this the kind of relationship we want to have moving forward, how do we feel this is working out for the County having this segregated employee.
“And we kind of have the opportunity to continue to improve pier operations. This is only the second operator we’ve had out there. And look at this as we’re still learning and getting better all the time.”