Local News

Tensions were high as the DeWitt County Board debated the merits of a contract extension versus the expiration of the Marina operator Thursday night.


Board members were considering an extension of the marina management contract, currently with Joe Caldwell and 1125 Property Management. Marina Chairman Dan Matthews laid out several areas of focus for the proposed two-year contract.



Jay Wickenhauser did not think moving forward with the two-year extension was a good idea. He offered the financial picture the County has faced under the contract and it shows the County losing money.



Former Board Chair David Newberg, who was among a handful of Board members that were on the Board when the first contract was agreed to, indicated if the contract is not renewed, there is an automatic one-year extension. State's Attorney Dan Markwell explained the arrangement.



Board member Aaron Kammeyer says the Marina needs a lot of attention and felt continuing with 1125 Property Management for two years would help continue with the urgency of addressing those needs.



Matthews believes the County has three options as it relates to the Marina. He says to continue with 1125 Property Management, have the County run the Marina, or sell the Marina.



Melonie Tilley was concerned about extending the contract two years, there is no change in the financial losses the County is experiencing. Kammayer pointed out there is no other plan in place otherwise and believes the needs of the marina need to be prioritized. Newberg believes extending the contract gives both parties the time to renegotiate. 



Matthews pointed to the contract with the EMS service as a contract that continues to roll over. He believes the marina contract was intended to be a similarly constructed contract.



The contract extension proposal failed, however, a second proposal to terminate the contract and rebid was put on the table later in the meeting. Tensions increased as Kammeyer called out Wickenhauser for making this personal. Board member Travis Houser questioned if terminating the contract at the end of the year would leave the County enough time to renegotiate or find a new operator. 



Buck Carter, who voted to not extend the contract for two years, offered his thoughts on not terminating the contract citing both parties recognizing a need for renegotiation and better terms.



The termination of the contract proposal failed. 


Thursday night, the County Board also:


>>Approved selling 75 acres across from the marina


>>Approved John David Vance to the Rutledge Empire Drainage District


>>Approved repairs to three front doors for the County Building at a cost of roughly $73-hundred


>>Approved replacing the fire alarm system of the County Building for $29,900


>>Approved the purchase of ten computers at a cost of over $9100

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