Sail Honeymoon on Dunedin Causeway to Go Up for Bid?
Sail Honeymoon, a kayak and sailboat rental stand on Dunedin Causeway, is fast approaching the end of its lease with the city, and residents want officials to amend the contract so the business can stay. It's up for discussion at tonight's public hearing.
Legally, the city is required to put the iconic Causeway kayak and sailboat rental concession out to bid.
But Dunedin Causeway residents and Commissioner Julie Scales are asking city leaders to disregard the agreement and keep 20-year owner Glen Steinke of Sail Honeymoon right where he is.
"We have a million visitors pass through the Causeway going to Honeymoon Island every year, and Glen has been our eyes and ears to assure the maintenance of this entire Causeway area," Norma Tilleges, president of Dunedin Beach Civic Association, wrote in a Jan. 12 letter to commissioners.
Steinke operates Sail Honeymoon through a license agreement with the city that expires July 31.
In order to ensure continuous service on the causeway and also remain fair and transparent, city staff must open the concession to others in a formal RFP (Request for Proposal) process in advance of the expiration.
Steinke is allowed to re-bid for his business, and the city may give preference to the standing concessionaire, according to the city's purchasing policy.
The deadline to put out the RFP was Jan. 18, which was all laid out in Steinke's three-year contract.
Scales asked to defer the Jan. 18 date and negotiate another contract with Steinke at a Jan. 10 public meeting at City Hall.
"You have a legal obligation under your agreement to put this out to bid," City Attorney Tom Trask said. "You're contractually obligated, unless you want to amend that agreement."
"Then let's do that," Scales said.
The city postponed the RFP process three years ago, after a six-year lapse with no agreement at all. Two commissioners referred to it as an "uncomfortable" situation.
Vice Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski called foul.
"It's the only agreement in our city that we don't go out to bid for? We have to do that," Bujalski said. "In my humble opinion — Glen, you know I love you buddy — but in my humble opinion, you've been there for a long time, I can't imagine somebody is gonna come in and take that business from you. I just don't see it happening. But I do think our purchasing policy, we have to go out to bid ... and to come back and change it right before we're doing it — "
The commission agreed to postpone the RFP process a few days so they could discuss the issue of disregarding the lease agreement and amending the contract at Thursday's public hearing.
Dunedin's business community honored Sail Honeymoon last year with the Chamber of Commerce's Small Business of the Year award.
"We feel Glen Steinke helps keep our Mission for all what he has done and continues to do for us," Tilleges' letter says.
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Residents can attend Thursday's public hearing at Dunedin City Hall or watch it live beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Dunedin TV (Channel 615 for Bright House customers or Channel 15 for Knology and Verizon customers).