City seeks proposals for dock restaurant

The Avalon City Council looked at a proposed lease for a restaurant at the end of the new Casino fuel dock, but instead directed staff to request proposals for the project.

The proposed lease’s provision for a 50-year lease appeared to be too long for some council members.

In other news, the commander of the Avalon Station said Internal Affairs Bureau investigators would come to the Island next week to investigate the recent fatal shooting of a bison by a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy.

The Avalon City Council looked at a proposed lease for a restaurant at the end of the new Casino fuel dock, but instead directed staff to request proposals for the project.

The proposed lease’s provision for a 50-year lease appeared to be too long for some council members.

In other news, the commander of the Avalon Station said Internal Affairs Bureau investigators would come to the Island next week to investigate the recent fatal shooting of a bison by a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy.

Also, the council unanimously approved the budget for 2017-2018 and appointed two new members to the hospital board of directors.

Fuel dock

The council decided to pass on a proposed lease and  directed staff to request proposals for a restaurant at the end of the fuel dock.

City Attorney Scott Campbell said staff would bring a report on results of the request back to the council for the second meeting in October.

Veteran restaurant owners Russell and Jenny Armstrong proposed building a restaurant at the end of the new fuel dock near the Casino. They would pay for the construction of the building, which would eventually become city property. However, the Armstrongs wanted a 50-year lease to have the building on the city’s dock.

The Armstrongs told city officials on July 31 that this was their final offer, according to a staff report by City Manager David Jinkens.

However, on Tuesday night Russell Armstrong said they would look at the city’s new request for proposals.

According to the staff report, the old fuel dock and the Casino Dock restaurant were demolished after safety issues, increased by the storm of December 2014, made it necessary for the city to build a new dock.

The Armstrongs were the only ones to respond to the original request for proposals issued in March.

“What do we want to do here?” asked Councilman Joe Sampson. “Is anything really going forward if we put this out for RFP again?”

He asked how realistic it would be for the city to build a restaurant on the fuel dock.

Councilman Oley Olsen said the city was never going to pay to build there.

Councilman Richard Hernandez said he was having a hard time with the 50-year lease.

According to Russell Armstrong, a 50-year lease is the only way he and his wife could make money from their investment. He said the profit in the restaurant business is pennies on the dollar.

Councilwoman Cinde MacGugan-Cassidy said that each time the issue comes before the council, the sweeter the deal gets for the Armstrongs.

“If it doesn’t work for us, it doesn’t work for the city,” Armstrong said.

Cassidy expressed concern that the 50-year lease was not in the city’s best interest.

“Make a decision,” Jenny Armstrong said.

Sampson suggested a 40-year lease as an alternative—or issuing another request for proposals for the project. “I’d like to see this thing go forward,” he said.

Russell Armstrong told the council they needed to get their act together.

He said they would respond to the request for proposals. “But, but stop frustrating us.”

Bison investigation

update

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Internal Affairs investigators will be on the Island Tuesday, Sept. 12, looking for witnesses to the recent shooting of a bison by a deputy, according to Capt. John Hocking, commander of the Avalon Station. Hocking spoke to the council during the public comment segment of the meeting. He said he didn’t want to talk to any witnesses because he doesn’t want to create any appearance of interference in the investigation. On Aug. 18, a deputy shot a bison at Little Harbor Campground. The animal reportedly charged at the deputy. The animal was eventually put down by Catalina Island Conservancy personnel.

Budget

The budget uses $2.8 million in cash reserves and $3.6 million in grant money to finish various projects. According to the budget, 29 percent of the city’s budget is spent on contracted services, 19 percent on paying employees and 6 percent on debt services.Council members Sampson and Cassidy both wanted to budget money for trash cans. The council members agreed to budget $50,000 as a place holder.  Staff will come back with a budget ammendment when they have more information.

In other business

The council, acting as the Board of Trustees for the Catalina Island Medical, approved the appointment of Levent Alkibay and David Lee to the hospital’s Board of Directors. They will each serve a three-year term. This will be the first term for both of the new directors.

In his application to the board, Alkibay wrote that existing board members asked him to join. He owns and operates the Catalina Beverage Company.

Lee wrote in his application that he would like to participate in the center’s continued success and growth. Lee is a tenured professor of art at Coastline Community College.

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