Baltiches receive notice; Frisco to explore options
FRISCO – Frisco officials agreed Tuesday to give the town’s marina concessionaire a one-year notice, but that doesn’t mean the long-term relationship between the two parties has ended.
“The positive side of this is Bernie and Elizabeth (Baltich) have 15 years of experience at the marina … and there isn’t a person on the planet who should be able to beat them on a bid or write a better proposal,” said Councilmember Rick Amico.
The contract between Frisco and the Baltiches, marina concessionaires and owners of Osprey Adventures, ends in October 2004. Giving them a one-year notice – which Frisco Town Manager Alan Briley recommended – enables the town to explore other alternatives for the marina, including requesting proposals from other concessionaires and looking into the feasibility of running the facility itself.
It has been 10 years since the town has solicited proposals for the marina, Briley said.
At least ten customers came to Tuesday’s council meeting to show support for the Baltiches and their operation. About as many sent letters of support to council members, said Frisco Mayor Bob Moscatelli.
“I’ve grown up in and around marinas all my life,” said Katherine Smith, whose father owned a marina in Texas. “We couldn’t be happier with the service.”
“Their level of service is excellent,” said Frisco resident Bruce Cochran. “The town of Frisco is benefitting from his operation.”
Supporters stressed that Frisco shouldn’t consider taking the marina over.
“The town doesn’t need to be in the business of running these concessions. Leave it to the private sector,” said one local business owner.
Still, council members said they owe it to their taxpayers to explore the various possibilities for the marina. Should they decide to sign another contract with the Baltiches next year, taxpayers and town officials will know it’s because they have offered Frisco the best deal available, officials said.
“This is just due diligence,” Amico said. “This is just business.”
“It’s a public-private partnership,” said Councilmember Bernie Zurbriggen. “I think the public needs to know they’ve got the best deal they can.”
Council members voted 6 to 1 to give the Baltiches a one-year notice, send out a request for proposals (RFP), encouraging the Baltiches to submit one of their own, and look into the feasibility of Frisco running the marina itself. Councilmember Jon Zdechlik opposed the motion and, though he voted yes, said he didn’t support the notion of a town-run facility.
Despite a history of emotional meetings between the two parties, Tuesday’s went smoothly.
“As citizens of the town, we do appreciate the need to go out for RFP,” said Bernie Baltich, after the council announced its decision.
Whether he and Elizabeth will submit a proposal, however, is yet to be determined.
They will, as long as it meets their “criteria for success,” Baltich said, adding that he hopes the town will allow them and the public to review the RFP before it is finalized to ensure it isn’t written in favor of a particular party or with unrealistic expectations.
If they do submit a proposal, the Baltiches feel sure they will be the main contender for the next round of contract negotiations.
“We feel confident that we’re the ones that know how to run this finnicky marina,” he said.
Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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