In another marathon meeting, this time to consider proposals for leasing the Vero Beach City Marina, the numbers didn’t work out so proposals were rejected and a new RFP will be issued. Bidders instead will be asked to submit proposals for either leasing the Marina from the City or managing it for the City.
Most residents attending the meeting were there to oppose the idea of leasing the publicly owned Marina. However, in what has become another hot button issue for City residents, the Council majority of Howle, Sykes and Zudans are in favor of a lease. The public is opposed to the course this City Council has taken over the past year.
Councilman Moss began the Marina discussion by stating her opposition to leasing as well as fact this property is protected under the City Charter and cannot be leased or sold without a voter referendum. Her position was applauded by the public.
More than two hours later, numerous public comments, Council considered three options – leasing, hiring a management firm or continuing to operate it by the City. Councilman Zudans spoke “adamantly” in favor of leasing while Councilman Young spoke “adamantly” in favor of keeping it in City hands. Zudans, Sykes and Howle finally agreed to consider leasing or hiring outside management, so Council voted 4-1 to reject the existing proposals and create a new RFP with those options. Zudans voted against the motion.
City Manager Jim O’Connor will now have staff create the new RFP, which will take three weeks because of the holidays, and set a 30-day limit on receiving proposals.