Marina concessionaires seek compensation
FRISCO – Elizabeth and Bernie Baltich, owners of Osprey Adventures and concessionaires for the Frisco Bay Marina, have taken the first step toward a lawsuit against Frisco, seeking damages caused by marina improvement work.
The Baltiches have filed a statutory notice of claim against the town, alleging Frisco breached its contract last summer with construction at the marina, said Pat Tisdale, town attorney. According to Colorado law, a statutory notice of claim must be filed within 180 days of the incident. While the notice of claim is the first step in a lawsuit against a governmental entity, few ever make it there, Tisdale said.
And the Baltiches don’t want a lawsuit, said Elizabeth Baltich. They filed the claim in hopes it would force the town to begin a dialogue with them.
The Baltiches are seeking compensation – either through an extension of their concessionaire contract or a reduction of fees – for lost business last summer, Elizabeth said.
As marina concessionaires, the Baltiches knew they ran the risk of losing business in the event of a drought. They were prepared for and could handle a drought, Elizabeth said. They were not prepared for the additional loss of business they say resulted from the town’s construction at the marina.
Frisco began the first phase of construction for its improved marina area – now known as Lakefront Park and Marina – last summer. The town paved the marina’s parking areas and added infrastructure.
According to the Baltiches, the construction increased their financial losses. They laid off much of their staff early in the summer but still ran out of money by the end of July. They took out a Federal Emergency Management Agency loan to make it through the remainder of the season.
When Bernie Baltich asked the town for compensation last summer, town officials gave him little sympathy and no financial consideration. Many businesses were suffering from the impacts from the drought and wildfires, town officials said, and the marina improvements would help his business in the long-term.
Elizabeth Baltich said she doesn’t doubt that the improvements will help future business at the marina. But their contract as concessionaires with the town expires at the end of the 2004 season, so they have no guarantee they’ll be the ones to reap those benefits.
She and Bernie are certain their business would have been better last summer had it not been for the construction. To illustrate her point, Elizabeth Baltich compared business at the Frisco marina to that at their marina at Wolford Reservoir, near Kremmling, last summer. Business was down about 30 percent at Wolford, but it was down more than 70 percent at Frisco, she said.
“It’s very similar – same kind of contract, same kind of work,” Elizabeth Baltich said of the two businesses.
According to the town’s contract with the concessionaires, the Baltiches are required to pay the town 14 percent of all gross receipts for activities not including retail and 8 percent of retail gross receipts.
Though the Baltiches have requested compensation from Frisco several times now, they have yet to receive a definitive answer, Elizabeth said. They realized they risked alienating themselves from the town if they filed the statutory file of claim but felt it was their only hope of getting the town to talk with them, she said.
Frisco officials considered the Baltiches’ proposal in an executive session at Tuesday’s council meeting but didn’t take official action. Frisco Town Manager Alan Briley said the council gave him negotiation strategies, and he will meet with the Baltiches to discuss the proposal. He declined to comment further.
Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or email@example.com.
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