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KC’s Riverstop talks stall over money, terms

By Staff | Feb 24, 2010

KC’s Riverstop is looking at March 15 as the deadline by which all negotiations need to be completed with the city if they hope to continue operating beyond the life of their current lease, which expires this year.
Council set March 15 as the “drop dead date”, after they felt negotiations with KC’s owners, the Serragos, were not progressing.
During negotiations, the city offered the Serragos a lease with the terms of $4,000 a month, plus payment of property and sales taxes.
The Serragos countered with a $2,000 a month offer, or 10 cents on each gallon of gas sold, which ever is greater.
The city then countered with $3,000 a month plus taxes, but that’s where the city says all negotiations ceased.
The Serragos, on the other hand, felt they were being insulted, getting offers the city knew were outside their means.
“I feel like we’re doing the best we can and we’re just getting the run around,” Betty Serrago said.
The terms of the current lease for the site at the Cape Coral Yacht Club has the Serragos paying $1,000 a month, or 7 cents on each gallon of gas, depending on which is greater. The city owns the site, the Serragos made the improvements to the property to operate their small waterfront food and fuel concession.
The Serragos said the recent run of bad weather has hurt their bottom line.
Council member Marty McClain said he felt using the weather in the negotiation process wasn’t fair to the city.
He also said he was comfortable with the flat rate of $4,000 a month.
At Monday’s council workshop McClain stated he felt negotiations were now moving in reverse, and neither party was any closer to a solution.
“I feel we’ve moved back to the batting box here,” he said. “There’s been a several month lapse since we originally discussed this.”
Council member Pete Brandt said he was comfortable with the $3,000 a month lease, but wasn’t sure if the Serragos were simply being stubborn or if they were economically unable to afford the price tag.
He said he has no idea what their business generates, but if it’s less than what the city is asking, that may not be fair.
“But they need to convince us they can’t afford it … and that we’re asking too much,” Brandt said.
With less than a month before the deadline, Betty Serrago said she feels the city simply wants KC’s Riverstop to fail.
She doesn’t know what’s next in the negotiation process, or even if that process will continue.
She said she still is getting strong support from her customers, after working 16 years to build that customer base.
“I think there’s so many people that want us here … we’ve done everything the city has asked us to do,” she said.