TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - Tybee Island residents coming out in droves in the fight to save North Beach Bar and Grill.
"If you could say to the council and have them hear you today, what would it be," asked WTOC.
"Back down," replied one Tybee resident.
Many people crying foul, saying the bidding process wasn't right and it wasn't fair. As you know from our earlier report, another group came in with a higher bid for the building the city currently leases to the long-time owners of the business. Now, they are in danger of losing their business.
A lot of folks are telling me the system is rigged and that the current leasers of the building didn't stand a chance.
Because of the Matrix. They claim the Matrix, as it's called, doesn't compare apples to apples.
They say the higher bidders – Kellam, Kellam and Morrison - are obviously going to have higher grades on some of these aspects because they simply own more properties.
The argument is, of course, the monthly amount paid to the city will be more for Kellam, Kellam and Morrison because they own multiple businesses compared with the current leasers - William and Spriggs - who own one business.
"Bottom line, you're comparing an apple to four oranges. At best, you would think that the four oranges would significantly beat the North Beach Grill. The ironic thing is their numbers still only beat the North Beach Grill by about 17 percent," said Ross Howard, longtime Tybee resident. "They didn't anticipate the fact that people bidding could use more than one business entity to arrive at the numbers for the bid."
WTOC found this is a common argument among islanders.
However, we also spoke with the mayor Tuesday.
He said the system is not rigged. It isn't set up to favor one business over the other and said it is an accurate comparison.
"It's a one to one comparison. So all of that is looking at just that particular property where the North Beach Grill is now. So, it's not comparing one piece of property to four pieces," said Tybee Mayor Jason Buelterman. "That's true in any situation where there's bidding. I mean, the reality is this was put out, the guidelines were put out there, the due date was put out there, it was made public. It was done in public."
I can tell you there's a lot of confusion right now among residents about how the bidding process works and how the Matrix numbers were determined.
You can bet folks on both sides of the aisle will be armed with loaded questions Thursday at the council meeting.