Back to the drawing board, as city still works on contracts for Willow Bay, golf course pro

by Daniel Moore
Press Staff Writer

American Falls can now look on the open market for someone to run the city-owned Willow Bay Cafe and Marina since no bids came in to run the business, said Mayor Marc Beitia during the city council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 19.

The city planned on starting the search by contacting the four individuals who picked up bid packets but did not turn them back in. They would see why they did not turn in a bid and what could be changed to garner an agreement for the campground and restaurant.

Currently, the city has a camp host in place for the campground, and will until a permanent solution is found, said Beitia. The restaurant is not open and will not be until an agreement is in place.

Shannon Reynolds, who manages two restaurants in Pocatello, addressed the council, saying that she did not have a chance to bid on the restaurant, but would be interested in running it. She wondered if she could be considered as well. Yes, said Beitia. The city was going to start with those who picked up bid packets, but that was just because it was a place to start, he said.

The city opened the bid process for the business in mid-December when the former managers left.

The city was also looking for someone to run the other city owned business activity, the golf course. The city received two bids to run the pro shop, one by current pro Bill Beck and the other by Dennis Howell Jr.

But city attorney Tippi Volyn said she had not reviewed the bid packet before the bidding process began, and after review, found that the packets were not in the best interest of the city. In an interview after the meeting, Beitia said that one of the biggest problems with the packet was that it didn’t specify whether the pro would pay the city based on a percentage or whether the pro would pay a flat fee for the shop. That made comparing the two bids like comparing apples and oranges, Beitia said.

Because of the problems, the city council rejected both bids. However, the council gave the authority to Beitia to negotiate with the two bidders to find which offer would be best for the city.

American Falls resident and Men’s Golf Association President Don Nebeker addressed the council, saying that the decision on the golf pro needs to happen quickly, and that high school golfers would want to be practicing on the course soon.

Also at the meeting, Idaho Power employee Brent Kuttler donated a $250 check from Idaho Power to the city for use with the Friends of the South Beach program he created for the city last year. Idaho Power donates occasionally to projects where their employees have volunteered, and chose the project spearheaded by Kuttler to donate to.

Kuttler created the project to remove willow starts and debris from the beach. Several Idaho Power employees who helped with the project attended the meeting.

Also attending the meeting was American Falls High School senior Colin Jensen, whose senior project was to put up bird identification signs along the trail to the Willow Bay Marina. He received a grant for the signs, and seven signs will be placed along the trail, highlighting 14 birds that can be found in the area.

In addition, the council also approved working with the Power County Sheriff’s Office earlier than usual on an agreement for dispatch services so that an agreement is in place before the budget process begins, and they approved the parks department seeking an independent contractor to maintain some of the grass strips added by the downtown revitalization project.

However, no councilmember volunteered to become a substitute for councilmember Dan Hammond if he is not able to attend meetings for the insurance consortium between several Idaho cities. The council approved Beitia to seek out a city employee for the opportunity.

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