MINUTES

Monday, November 8, 2010, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.,

Boyd Lake Room, Larimer County Courthouse Office Building, 200 W. Oak Street, Fort Collins, CO

Text Box: The mission of the Larimer County Parks and Open Lands Department is to establish, protect, and manage significant regional parks and open lands, providing quality outdoor recreational opportunities and stewardship of natural resource values.  We are committed to fostering a sense of community and appreciation for the natural and agricultural heritage of Larimer County for present and future generations.

Present:

Board members:

Frank Cada

Mark DeGregorio

Russ Fruits

Linda Knowlton

Barry Lewis

Tom Miller

Steve Schweitzer

Vickie Traxler

Forrest Orswell

Chad LaChance

 

Staff:

Commissioner Steve Johnson

Purchasing Manager Kathryn Rowe

Gary Buffington

Mark Caughlan

Chris Fleming

Dan Rieves

Deb Wykoff

 

Absent:

Frank Gillespie

 

The November 8, 2010, meeting of the Parks Advisory Board was called to order by Chair Linda Knowlton at 5:35 p.m.  The Minutes of the October 12, 2010, meeting were approved.

 

BOARD MEMBER REPORTS– None

PUBLIC COMMENT: None

 

GENERAL INFORMATION:  (Questions – 5 min.)

§  Fire restrictions lifted October 26.

§  Natural Resource Events for October. See website http://www.larimer.org/naturalresources

§  Parks Advisory Board meeting schedule for 2011 was distributed.

§  Board contact information list was distributed.

 


ACTION ITEMS:

Carter Lake Marina Concession License

Kathryn Rowe, Larimer County Purchasing Manager, explained the RFP & evaluation process which has been used to evaluate the bids submitted for the Carter Lake Marina Concession License.  The evaluation team created a matrix, which compared the responses side-by-side.  Neither bid was acceptable on the first round, because there were too many omissions in the information submitted by both bidders.  Additional information was requested and submitted by both.  The evaluation team then scored both proposals by the evaluation criteria stated in the RFP.

Board members, Russell Fruits and Chad LaChance, who served on the evaluation committee, reported that they did initial research by visiting several different marina operations.  They reviewed the evaluation criteria and explained the reasoning of the committee in scoring the two bids.

 

Chair Linda Knowlton then welcomed the public who were in attendance and invited them to share their comments with the Board.

 

Public comment:

§  A.W. Duran, Loveland:  Long time user of the marina, speaking in favor of retaining the current marina operators.  He is there almost every day and has observed the Waldburgers checking on all safety concerns.  Communication is excellent.  He commuted from Wyoming for a number of years because he believes this is the best marina in the area.  The daily service is important to him.  He urges the Board to grant the license to the Waldburgers.

§  Melinda Yale, Longmont:  Service is tremendous.  She is there on weekdays.  There have been many days with high winds so bad they couldn’t go on the docks.  After a bad storm, she has observed that they have secured boats, replaced broken ties, etc.

§  Nick Ores, Loveland:  He has had his boat on Carter for 10 years.  He hasn’t seen the evaluators at the Marina.  He uses the Marina’s dinghy to get to his boat on a mooring.  All the facilities are in tiptop condition.  The use is already over capacity.  Don’t fire these people.  They are experts.

§  Todd Rogers, Fort Collins:  He has had a sailboat at Carter for 27 years, and has worked with Waldburgers all these years.  Their level of service is excellent.  They are always there.  99% of the people here support the Waldburgers.  Does the County really want to replace them when the marina customers want to retain them? 

§  John McGinley, Nederland:  Outstanding service.  He never worries about his boat – in the middle of the night, in any weather emergency, they’re out there keeping the boats safe.  He recommends retaining the Waldburgers.

§  Bob Schwartz, _____:  He has been sailing on Carter Lake since 1968.  Waldburgers have integrity, have never given him any trouble, and they are out there any hour of the day or night.  They do the job extremely well.

§  ____:  Can’t say enough about the service they have provided, 24/7.  They do what needs to be done without complaint.  They take care of all the problems themselves in storms, etc.  The Waldburgers are fine people.  He feels strongly that they should be allowed to continue.

§  Mark Powell, Broomfield:  He has been at Carter for over 15 years.  What a great job Don and John do!  24 hours/day.  They take care of every boat as if it is their own.  The Powells have chosen Carter over other options because of the excellent marina.

§  Jean Powell, Broomfield:  When she looks at the department’s mission statement – to manage and protect the parks – this is what the Waldburgers do.  There is a sense of community and family which is irreplaceable.  That’s what brings them back every year.  They feel privileged to be there.

§  Jim Knapp, Windsor:  He has been at Carter for 10 years.  He doesn’t know what the answers were on the RFP.  Lots of people who had their boats at other reservoirs have come up to Carter.  If you had an investment in a sailboat, you’d be very happy with the Waldburgers.

§  Jim Dockery, Fort Collins:  There are 3 lakes and  communities in the area: Horsetooth, Carter and Boyd Lake.  He’s been to all three.  Each is different – types of boats, types of people.  People have a choice.  The people who have come to Carter chose it because it is a sailing lake, and how you manage the lake is different for sailing versus big power boats.  Urges County to retain the Waldburgers.

§  Bill Sterck, Berthoud:  His boat has been on Carter 21 years.  The Board should look at what the marina has done for the public.  Don is very supportive of Boy Scouts at no charge.  Mr. Sterck read the RFP and the evaluation criteria.  After 20 years, the Waldburgers are still here – they’re viable.  They run it like a family.  It’s not just a business.  It draws in people who want to make it their life.  If we’re looking at service to the community, it’s more than numbers.  If the numbers are all that count, it will be the wrong decision.

§  Charles Olmstead, Weld County:  He has been on the lake 4 years.  Waldburgers are the public face of Carter Lake.  They are supportive of new sailors.  They offer advice, etc.

§  Al Burkhart, Greeley:  On May 4 this year we had sustained winds to 111 mph.  Many of Don’s customers came to help him – there is a genuine sense of community and loyalty.  Ten years ago his boat was hit by a power boat, and Don responded to his SOS in 3 minutes. The rangers arrived in 4 minutes.

§  Chuck Carlson, Loveland:  33 years boating; 20 years at Carter.  High percentage of satisfied customers.  Besides all the people here tonight, there was a petition circulated in favor of retaining the Waldburgers, with something like 1000 signatures.  This is not just about a few people.  This is much bigger.  There have been numerous letters sent in support.  Why create a monopoly in the county with one marina operator?  It is a good idea to be diversified, with different operators.  Horsetooth is not subject to the same abuse as Carter from wind, etc.  Waldburgers have 20 years experience in Carter Lake weather, etc.  Carter Lake Marina has both sailing and motor boats.  HT Inlet Bay Marina has no sailboats.  The Carter Lake Marina has been well run for 20 years – a real gem.

§  Austin Andrews, Estes Park:  Show of hands – everyone present is in favor of the Waldburgers.  In the 22 years, his boat has never sustained any damage.  Continue this fine service.

§  Mark Wilson, Fort Collins:  In 2006, in the Master Plan process, we discussed the value of diverse lakes.  He’s been there since 1985.  Waldburgers deliver high level of family oriented care.  Culture is very different from other lakes.  It is important to keep that.

§  Terri Anderson, Longmont:  She has been boating for 22 years.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Nothing is broken at the Carter Lake Marina.

§  Victor Washington, Commodore of the Carter Lake Sail Club:  No other marina he’s seen provides services 24/7.  They watch everybody on the lake.  They have a whole network of folks to get hold of when they need help.  There is a great sense of community.  They serve both power and sailboats.  Unique aspects of Carter:  No protected cove for the marina – requires constant attention.

§  Dave Buck, Denver:  The Waldburgers’ handling of current customers is evident from testimony.  Both the lake and the marina operator are geared for sail boats.  Some plans haven’t happened as timely as expected – but that’s not the marina operator’s fault – they don’t control when utilities are provided and additional parking, etc.  When the new marina was being built, Waldburgers worked out of a trailer.  When they lost a close family member, they didn’t waiver one bit.  They continued to perform as usual, even in the toughest of times.  He’s been to Horsetooth a few times.  Go to Inlet Bay on the internet and read some of the unflattering comments about the Inlet Bay Marina before making a decision.

§  Michael Morgan, Vice-Commodore of the Carter Lake Sail Club:  He was in charge of the slips and docks for 5 years for the Club, so has experience working with Don.  Carter is by far the most challenging lake in Colorado.  If the wind comes up, Waldburgers were always there.  If something changes and I don’t feel secure, I’ll move my boat to Pueblo. 

§  Jim Ramsey:  He has boated for many years.  Feels fortunate to have Don and John taking care of him – they’ve made it possible for him to continue boating despite poor health.  He has visited other marinas to check them out.  These are great people – please keep them.

§  Steve Johnson (?):  He has been told on several occasions over the past few years that it is not allowed at Carter Lake Marina to slip a boat there just for the day, even though there are empty slips.  The service provided by the Waldburgers does not seem to extend to the general boating public.

 

Board comment:

§  Mark DeGregorio:  What did the committe see when they visited other marinas?

§  Chad LaChance:   At Dillon Reservoir, they saw many different profit centers developed without affecting customer service.  The growth has been substantial through reinvesting in the business – food service, dry dock boat storage, even storing boat motors in the restrooms.

§  Russ Fruits:  The Dillon concessionaire showed them what went into the operation.  For example, rental boats are replaced every 2 years; and he demonstrated the positive effect of this on building business.  He would sell the boats and often the buyers returned as customers.

§  Frank Cada:  We should compare Inlet Bay Marina and Carter Lake Marina – not Dillon Marina.

§  Russ Fruits:  Dillon provides a useful comparison because it is also unsheltered marina, which is much more profitable than Carter Lake Marina.

§  Vickie Traxler:  Asked to review the criteria, and what the total points were.  Kathryn Rowe reviewed the evaluation criteria and the scoring totals.

§  Linda Knowlton:  One of the speakers said that Carter Lake is full to capacity.  Is that true?

§  Dan Rieves:  Capacity is hit occasionally on Carter Lake.  It’s based on surface acres.  Capacity is reached due to day use, not marina capacity.  This has occurred 2 or 3 times in the past few years.  We rely on below-high-water parking.  But when the water is high as this year, available parking limits total use.

§  Frank Cada:  Tonight we heard a lot about customer service which seems very important.  Was that factor correctly weighted?  It seems not.  It’s impressive how many years all these people have been coming back.  The Inlet Bay Marina operator spoke, and went on and on about weather damage to his docks.  The Waldburgers are able to deal with the wind. 

§  Chad LaChance:  There are slips available at Carter Lake; but not at Inlet Bay Marina, even though the latter is much larger.  Inlet Bay has a waiting list.  This is an indicator of success. 

§  Linda Knowlton:  Is there a reason why power and sail boats can’t share the same facility?

§  Chad:  No.  And Carter Lake Marina has both.  The reason there are no sailboats at Horsetooth is that it is too narrow to turn around.

§  Barry Lewis:  Tell more about future potential.

§  Russ Fruits:  One of the proposals said if certain conditions were present, they might build more slips, if the County provided certain services.  The other proposal committed to build 40 more slips by next year, without conditions.  The financial capacity to expand services is also important.  The committee felt that one of the bidders would run the business well into the future.

§  Chad/Russ:  The development plan and financial plan, and meeting the minimum requirements were the factors that separated the two bids most.

§  Steve Schweitzer:  Someone could be a good checkbook manager, but not good at writing a business plan.  Does one clearly stand out as having the financial resources to carry out a business plan?  And was one plan more creative or dynamic?  The financial background is very important. 

§  Chad LaChance:  One bidder has significantly more business experience than the other, and also more financial resources.   

§  Russ Fruits:  At Inlet Bay Marina, there are waiting lists.  And at Carter Lake, there are empty slips.  Marketing strategies were also a factor.  Carter Lake Marina was throwing darts at a board; Inlet Bay Marina has a specific strategy.

§  Chad LaChance:  Additional offers included expanded food service, offering dry dock storage, full service mechanical services, additional slips in future years – all offered by one of the bidders.

§  Steve Schweitzer:  He’s a sailboater, and understands what it takes to run a slippage.  Something isn’t connecting – there is all this positive comment from customers, yet there are empty slips.  That doesn’t add up. 

§  Russ Fruits:  There isn’t one factor which explains that – the Waldburgers suggested that it is attributable to weather and water levels.

§  Forrest Orswell:  Is there nothing we can put our finger on to explain the difference?

§  Frank Cada:  The Horsetooth marina is much bigger – and all full.

§  Dan Rieves:  The two marinas are both proportional in size to the bodies of water they are on.

§  Tom Miller:  He was a volunteer at both lakes.  We are dealing with a business issue.  Our charge was to select the best, most responsible bidder.  We’re not firing anyone.  The one who gets it will be the one who provides the best business plan.  The Board represents everyone in the county and in the state who recreate here, not just the customers of the marina.  The bid process was open to all bidders, and the information solicited was the same for all.  The Inlet Bay Marina appears to have the best responsible bid – in the scoring on the evaluation criteria, Inlet Bay is a +5; Carter Lake Marina is a -1.

§  Linda Knowlton:  We rely on our facilities to generate revenue for us.  If any facility is underperforming, that’s not good for Larimer County, especially with a parks budget that will become increasingly self-funded.

§  Chad LaChance:  In the current license, there was a provision requiring that it go out to bid at the end of this term.  That was not directed at the current concessionaires.

§  Tom Miller:  We’re looking at the concessionaire as a partner in providing the highest quality facilities and services for outdoor recreation.

 

Forrest Orswell made, and Tom Miller seconded, a motion that the Board recommend to the County Commissioners that the concession contract for Carter Lake Marina be awarded to Glenn Werth, owner of the Inlet Bay Marina.  There was no further discussion.  The motion carried on a vote of  9 in favor, with1 abstention.  Chair Linda Knowlton announced that the County Commissioners will take up the matter at Admin Matters on Tuesday morning, November 9, at 9 am.  Linda thanked Russ and Chad for all the time they put in on this.  Gary Buffington observed that no matter who the Commissioners select, this process has ensured better business results in the future.

STANDING AGENDA ITEMS:

Park District updates and Parks Master Plan Implementation Progress report – Dan Rieves, Visitor Services Manager

§  ANS staffing:  We staffed 7 days a week through October, and had good weather, so lots of demand.  In November, we are staffing from 8-9 am, and noon – 1 pm, on weekends only, weather-dependent. 

§  Fishing is Fun project:   Big Thompson project – replacing a vault restroom at the Forks park.  The old one has been demolished, and the new one is en route.  Narrows Park is closed for the winter.

§  Shower building at Eagle Campground is progressing.

§  Mary’s Lake shower building has been slowed by rock.

§  Doing planning documents for fuel sites, to comply with new regulations.

§  Overall, things are going pretty well.

§  Mark Caughlan reported that revenue is higher this year than ever before.  The improvements we’re doing are beginning to pay off.

§  Horsetooth Projects:  Sunrise Swim Beach is the last project, now getting underway.

§  Tim Reed, who spoke at the last meeting, is now volunteering to work with Dan, Meegan and Kerri, to develop a stakeholder inclusion tool.

§  Linda Knowlton:  Were we in violation of EPA regulations at Sunrise? [No.  Following discussion with US Army Corp of Engineers, they agreed that we were good to go under prior approval.]

§  All projects will be completed by mid-December.

§  We have been awarded the StarBurst Award by GOCO for the HT projects.  This will be presented tomorrow during Admin Matters.

§  Planning grant for the new nature center/office building is being worked on. 

§  Starting 1/1/11, the camping reservation window expands to 180 days.

§  Sr. Ranger Will Talbott transferred to Blue Mountain District last week.  We now have a full staff for the first time.  Ranger Bill Schultze will go to Estes next season, and Ranger Cindy Claggett will move back to Carter Lake.

§  Repairs are progressing at the Mary’s Lake campground; we are removing pine beetle kill at Hermit Park and Estes.

§  There was a debriefing process with staff at Estes to learn from this season how to improve for next year.

§  Construction at Hermit Park:  Insurance is replacing a cabin that was wrecked during the Boy Scout Camporee (not the fault of the Scouts.)

§  No fee increase at Hermit Park yet – may raise the camping fees there next year.

§  5 single vault restrooms will be arriving soon to replace the port-o-lets at the cabins.

§  Red Mountain hunting lottery:  One buck has been taken; there have been no conflicts; the season is going well.

§  Outdoor Buddies:  Provides hunting opportunities to severely disabled individuals.  They’ll be hunting later in the season.

DIRECTOR’S REPORT - Gary Buffington

U.S. Forest Service campground management

§  After consideration, Gary decided it would not be a option for our department, because it would overwhelm our existing operation.  It would have required 115 camphosts, in addition to more staff, etc., to manage 1600 campsites in 5 counties.

Board comments

§  Steve Schweitzer:  Is this a possible future opportunity?  [In 10 years, when it goes out to bid again.]

§  Gary Buffington:  The bidders are nation-wide companies who manage campgrounds everywhere.  There were beetle kill and other issues, which are going to close some of the campgrounds next year, etc.

§  Dan Rieves:  If we were going to bid it, we needed to request numerous changes in the RFP, and that list got so long, it  became evident that it was too much of a stretch.

 

The December meeting has been canceled.  The next regular scheduled meeting will be on January 11, 2011, at 5:30 p.m., in the Boyd Lake Room at the Larimer County Courthouse Office Building, 200 W. Oak, Fort Collins, CO.

 

The meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Debra Wykoff

 

APPROVED:

 

 

 


Linda Knowlton, Chair

 

 

Next regular meeting: December 14, 2010, in the Boyd Lake Room at the Larimer County Courthouse Office Building, 200 West Oak Street, Fort Collins.