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Front Page » Top Stories » Dinner Key Marina may go to bid for private operator

Dinner Key Marina may go to bid for private operator

Written by on December 18, 2018
Dinner Key Marina may go to bid for private operator

Miami has long run Dinner Key Marina in Coconut Grove, the state’s largest wet slip marine facility. In January, city commissioners will consider whether to turn over operation to the private sector, along with city-run Miamarina at Bayside.

The move comes at the urging of Joe Carollo, who has been pushing fellow commissioners and administrators to find new revenue sources and beef up current revenue streams.

Mr. Carollo raised the marinas issue this fall when the Miami Parking Authority sought to raise parking rates. He basically postponed a final vote to hike parking rates until the administration moved to increase marina rates.

At the commission’s Dec. 13 meeting, Mr. Carollo said he wanted to “test the waters” in January and discuss the financial impact of having the private sector run the two marinas.

“I’ll bring in numbers in January that will shock you on how bad we run some of our facilities,” he told City Manager Emilio González.

Mr. Carollo directed the manager to look into what it would take to request formal proposals from businesses to run the public marinas, and to study profit margins. If there isn’t a big difference in city revenue from a city-run marina vs. a privately-run marina, then “we don’t have to change,” he said. But he said he believes the city could rake in much more money.

At Mr. Carollo’s direction, staff studied dockage rate hikes, which showed the city could make an extra $1.2 million a year at the two marinas.

Mr. Carollo was critical of how the city operated its marinas, noting that a company runs the city’s Rickenbacker Marina on Virginia Key.

“I think we should run them all or the private sector run them all, and from what I’ve seen, the private sector does a better job,” Mr. Carollo said, meaning that private marinas in the area make substantially more profit than the city-run facilities.

8 Responses to Dinner Key Marina may go to bid for private operator

  1. Ben Grimm

    December 19, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Why is the city in the middle of tourism in South Florida desperately seeking revenue via parking meters and by outsourcing marina administration?

    How does outsourcing a marina increase revenue for the city?

  2. Canuck sailor

    December 20, 2018 at 11:44 pm

    Dinner Key Marina seems unable to operate itself profitably, and having used their services, i assure you going private will be much more efficient and definitely more profitable for all concerned. It will also I suspect be much more pleasant, because the current staff there could care less about the people they serve.

    • J

      December 22, 2018 at 10:59 am

      The marina boat owners had a meeting with the assistant city managers and the city marina manager. They admitted that the marina all ways shows a profit and even now that around 1/3 of the slips are vacant they are still profitable

    • The sweeny

      February 19, 2019 at 9:38 pm

      Canuck sailor is very wrong about the staff at dinner key. If he feels that the service is bad then leave. Personally, I find the staff are a committed group of employees.

      • Wally Moran

        February 20, 2019 at 2:13 pm

        Dealing with the poor service is even easier than that. I simply do not go there. Why aggravate myself when there are other options that understand the value of good service, starting with the ability to address your customer in the English language, or responding in a timely manner to phone calls and emails?

  3. Steven Wool

    December 22, 2018 at 8:52 am

    As a long time user of the mooring field at Dinner Key I cannot disagree more with the previous post. I have found the staff here to be hard working consummate professionals. The monthly rate is presently commensurate with fees charged throughout the area, ie: Stuart, Marathon and Key West. Substantially raising rates, or turning management over to a for-profit private contractor, in essence the same thing, will force many of us to take our business elsewhere.

  4. Jamie Larson

    December 22, 2018 at 9:22 am

    The marina needs to be repaired from Irma. The city has done nothing but sit on its hands. Raising the rates before it has been repaired is a crime and a disservice to the citzens.

  5. Capt Orestes Triana

    December 22, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    Special interest groups! Don’t be fooled, that’s what is controlling this privatization plot for the Dinner Key Marina. I saw it when we lost our parking to Regatta Park. I still remember the meetings we had with our commissioner at that time. While he was promising us that he would do everything in his power, a brochure for the Grove Towers being constructed across the street showed the park with the parking area already removed.
    I can assure you the special interest groups Have already met with our city manager and some of our commissioners to work out details of how they can take over Dinner Key Marina. We don’t have the money or the lobbyist pull that they do because we’re not united. We don’t have the high-priced attorneys and the ears of our commissioners. Commissioner Manolo Reyes was the only one who voted NO on Dec. 13 while Commissioner Ken Russell, who told us in front of a group days before that he would vote NO, instead voted YES to the contrary.

    We must unite as a group and show the commissioners and the city manager that we as citizens and residents of Dinner Key Marina have rights and have voting powers. We can be strong in opposition of this privatization of Dinner Key Marina.

    A few of us just showing up at Miami City Commission meetings is not going to cut it. Let’s make a difference; let’s save Dinner Key Marina before it’s too late.