Silver Bay council looks to marina’s future
By: LaReesa Sandretsky, Lake County News Chronicle
How can the marina make more money?
That was the question before the Silver Bay City Council on Monday. All councilors were present except Dave Gustafson.
Jeremey Kasapidis, marina manager and Mike Guzzo, parks and recreation director for Silver Bay, came to ask the council for financial support to set up a booth at the Minneapolis Boat Show in February. They anticipate the three-day trip will cost over $1000, including an $875 booth fee, travel, lodging and a per diem allowance.
"It's time. We've been sitting here saying how beautiful (the marina) is but we haven't advertised it," Guzzo said.
The marina, built in 1999, has yet to turn a profit. Kasapidis said he hopes more promotion, along with rate changes, will turn the tide for the floundering operation.
Kasapidis and Guzzo have also booked a rally for next summer that they hope will generate word-of-mouth advertising. The Great Lakes Cruising Club will spend Aug. 15-17, 2013 at the marina. The GLCC has 2,500 members, so Kasapidis anticipates that the rally will bring boaters from the entire Great Lakes area. If their experience is good, he said he hopes they’ll spread the word about the small marina in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota.
The council approved the new rates for the marina as well as other public building rental rates.
As for funding the boat show trip, it would be considered by the council before a decision is made. Councilor Carlene Perfetto requested that Kasapidis come back with a solid dollar figure, and the councilors discussed using monies collected by the city in lodging taxes to fund the trip.
"I find this very exciting for the marina and Silver Bay. I see Silver Bay turning a corner... it's time that we get out there and tell people who we are," Councilor Joanne Johnson said.
The Victus Farm biofuel greenhouse has plans for expansion and director Mike Mageau hopes the council will help support them. He wants to start growing tomatoes and purchase a pelletizer so they can experiment with different types of fish food. There’s potential for fish food to become a future source of income for the greenhouse.
The council agreed that the city could help write a grant to the IRRRB to cover the costs of these new ventures, although the grant must be submitted by Oct. 15.
The final topic of discussion was the health care plan for city employees. The current provider was planning to raise rates, so Fralich and an insurance review team pursued other options. They narrowed the options down and presented the options to employees. Sixty-three percent voted in favor of the change to another health care plan provider.
Fralich said the city will incur no additional cost. The council approved the change.
"If the employees are happy, I'm happy,” Mayor Scott Johnson said.