Although Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore was opposed to the county commission’s decision in May 2010 to award the lease for the concession at the county-run Manatee Public Beach to a new operator, she’s changed her tune.
After viewing the revenue figures and rent payments for the first five months of operation by United Park Services of Tampa, Whitmore said she is “impressed.”
UPS outperformed former operator P.S. Beach by $43,784 in total revenues for the last five months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009 when P.S. Beach had the lease.
With rent payments to the county under the UPS contract based partially on a percentage of gross revenues for the restaurant and gift shop, Manatee County did better with UPS than with P.S. Beach.
UPS has a separate contract for the concession at Coquina Beach, while P.S. Beach included that operation in its contract. All the figures reported contain both Coquina Beach and cafe-gift shop revenues for both P.S. Beach and UPS.
For the last five months of 2010, the county received $54,398 more in rent payments than what P.S. Beach paid for the same period in 2009.
Total gross revenues reported by UPS for the August-December 2010 period were $889,668, while P.S. Beach had revenues of $845,884 for the same five months of 2009.
During the third quarter of 2010, UPS was only required to pay rent for August and September. That figure came to $57,817, according to Nick Azzara, county information outreach coordinator. Because UPS took over cafe operations July 21, 2010, the contract did not require a July rent payment.
The $22,008 UPS two-month payment bested the $35,809 three-month payment made by P.S. Beach for the same quarter when calculated on a monthly average.
Whitmore told members of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce board of directors recently that based on UPS’ performance, it is now time to “get behind them and support them.
“I was originally opposed, but the county is doing much better in rent payments than before,” she said.
P.S. Beach and the Beach Shop had held the lease since 1992. The lease had been renewed every five years by the county commission until 2010, when Manatee County administrator Ed Hunzeker put it out for bid.
A three-member panel of county staff recommended the lease be awarded to UPS, although the P.S. Beach final offer was equal to that of UPS. UPS also operates a concession at Fort DeSoto Park, and its owners operate several businesses in Tampa.
Several hundred people showed up in support of P.S. Beach at the county commission meeting in May 2010 before the vote.
County commissioners Whitmore, John Chappie and Joe McClash opposed the change in operators, but without success. The contract was awarded to UPS, 4-3.
Whitmore said she’s had to change her mind about UPS.
“I can’t argue with the figures and that’s what it’s all about,” she said. “We have to support them.”
Under its contract, which differs from the PS Beach contract, UPS pays a flat rate of $342,000 in annual rent plus 4 percent of the revenues in excess of $2.5 million. For Coquina Beach, UPS is paying 8 percent of gross revenues in monthly rent, according to Azzara.