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Dunedin commissioners vote Thursday on Sail Honeymoon contract

Dunedin commissioners on Thursday will consider a staff recommendation that they renew their Dunedin Causeway concessions contract with Sail Honeymoon.

The longtime vendor and Osprey Bay Outdoors of Clearwater were the only two companies to apply for the job last month.

Dunedin purchasing director Chuck Ankney said Sail Honeymoon -- which boasted a wider selection of watercraft rental inventory and also offered the city a higher fee to rent space on the causeway between the mainland and Honeymoon Island State Park -- was the city evaluation team's unanimous top pick.

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Under the proposed contract, the city would receive $221,180 over the course of a 10-year contract. Among the highlights:

-Steinke would pour $50,000 worth of improvements into the land, including a new concessions trailer with an updated kitchen and an outdoor dining deck with a wheelchair-accessible ramp. The changes would be completed by August 2014.

-Steinke would spend $1,000 a year on sand and landscaping.

-Sail Honeymoon would be responsible for public bathrooms, as well as maintenance, weed control, and cleaning of the land.

"Mr. Steinke is the cunent provider of these services, and has been for over 20 years," City Manager Rob DiSpirito wrote in a memo to commissioners. "He is well qualified. He has provided a proposal that best meets the needs of the city."

Thursday's vote follows controversy earlier this year, in which Steinke, several commissioners and dozens of residents argued that Sail Honeymoon shouldn't be subject to a city policy that requires a competitive process for all private businesses operating on city-owned land.

Commissioners Julie Scales and Heather Gracy said Steinke had established a 20-year track record and shouldn't have to risk losing his business to another contender. Mayor Dave Eggers, Vice Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski and Commissioner Ron Barnette said the re-bidding of contracts is a standard government practice aimed at ensuring transparency and smart spending of taxpayer money.

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