MWRD further delays Wilmette Harbor decision
Updated: April 29, 2013 10:04AM
WILMETTE — For the second time in less than a month, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago commissioners have put off deciding who should manage Wilmette Harbor for them.
Meanwhile, the harbor’s regular springtime dredging is on hold, at least until officials for the Wilmette Harbor Association, the current harbor manager, know if they’ll still have the job after April 4. That’s when the MWRD board is next set to consider the question.
Commissioners unanimously agreed March 19 to delay awarding the 39-year harbor management lease, despite recommendations from MWRD staff and the board’s procurement committee to give it to the nonprofit association, which has managed the tiny harbor since 1938. They initially delayed a decision when they met March 4, but extended the association’s permit to operate by 30 days, MWRD spokeswoman Alison Fore said March 13.
This week, Harbormaster Sabine Herber expressed confidence that the board would accept the association’s $68,501 bid over two competitors’ bids of $70,000. But she worried that the delay could delay the harbor’s spring dredging, which normally takes place in April.
“By now he’d have us on his schedule. We can’t do that without knowing what the situation is,” she said.
Fritz Duda, the Winnetka resident whose newly formed five-member Wilmette Harbor Management Inc. wants to replace the association, said the postponement leaves an open door.
“There were a number of questions asked of staff (by commissioners) … about what standard was used to deny the two high bids,” he said. “We can tell by their questions that they’re getting deep into the real issue.”
The WHM group bid $70,000 to win the management lease, as did Wisconsin-based Centrepoint Yacht Services LLC but a brief report from MWRD staff indicated the two high bidders had not provided adequate financial information and stated the association bid was the highest responsible offer. ~.