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Tiburon council shows early support of subsidy for late-night ferry

The Tiburon Town Council has agreed in concept to a subsidy for a new late-night ferry, lauding the idea of service to boost downtown business while seeking to be cautious about the use of taxpayer money.

But before the council signs off, it wants to see evidence the two-year, $300,000 request is justified.

The council held its first hearing on the subsidy request from downtown commercial landlord and developer A&C Ventures at its Oct. 20 meeting, where members directed staff to prepare a funding agreement to bring back for a second hearing. The council will then decide whether to approve the funds and for how much.

A&C, which also does business locally as ACV Argo Tiburon LP, owns the Tiburon Ferry Landing and buildings that house restaurants such as Caffe Acri and the coming Bungalow Kitchen, Petite Left Bank and Malibu Farm. It has long had a goal to provide late-night ferry service from San Francisco to feed its own restaurants with city residents and tourists, and it wants the town to dip into its $2.17 million of American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds to cover 80 percent of initial operating shortfalls. A&C asserts the service would provide a public benefit to all of downtown Tiburon and its merchants but that it won’t break even until its third year, arguing the subsidy is necessary in the meantime.

The other 20 percent of the first-two-year costs, or $75,000, would come from the 13 restaurants that would benefit from the service, according to the company. A&C President S.G. Ellison said that funding has already been secured.

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