Following weeks of delays, the city of Mobile will on longer use a building it previously owned to store two parade floats used for Mardi Gras and Christmas events.
It’s unclear if the floats will be moved to a city-owned location or if they will no longer be used, after administration officials pulled from the Mobile City Council’s meeting agenda a sublease agreement with the owners of Gulf Coast Ducks for the space at 650 St. Anthony Street.
City attorney Ricardo Woods confirmed to councilors that all options are on the table after the city could not work out a better deal to store the floats in the building it sold to Activation Management for $255,000 earlier this year. The building was then sold by the company to the owners of Port City Pups for $500,000 this summer.
It is unclear if the city even uses the Christmas float any longer, as a city-wide Christmas parade hasn’t been organized in a number of years. City spokesman George Talbot said he wasn’t sure if it is used in another parade. The Mardi Gras float is used, though only once a year.
The city had apparently be storing the floats in the warehouse for free since the sale was finalized because Activation was working with the city to pay back sales taxes due to being unable to operate for months. The hiatus followed the loss of the company’s insurance because of an accident involving another duck boat company in Branson, MO, Executive Director of Finance and Acting Chief of Staff Paul Wesch told councilors.
The Ducks are now paid in full, according to Wesch.
Although the more than $300-per-month sublease was tabled, councilors unanimously approved an agreement between the company and the city to allow the duck boats access to a city-owned dock.
The agreement the city reached to sell 650 St. Anthony Street and its attempts to sell other property has spurred council debate on the subject. An ad-hoc committee tasked with creating an ordinance to deal with the issue of city property sales is slated to meet again at 2 p.m. on Tueday, Nov. 19, in the council conference room.
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