In an “Insight Opinion” column published May 18 in the island weekly, Vero Beach City Council candidate Val Zudans made more than a few misleading claims.
Zudanse asserted that the power deal, which the City Council is set to sign later this month and before the Nov. 7 election, will “close the last chapter on the big blue boondoggle that has defined every recent local election cycle….it allows ‘Mayberry by the Sea’ to return our focus to enhancing our local culture.”
In truth, Zudans and fellow candidate Harry Howle are running their campaigns on the electric issue. Both are supported by a political action committee wholly funded by Florida Power and Light to the tune of $50,000. Despite the fact that he is clearly a pawn of FPL, Zudans brought himself to write, “it is important to support candidates who aren’t pawns of special interests groups…”
Zudans claims the sale will lead to savings of 17%. In truth, Vero Beach residents, the very people Zudans is asking to vote for him, will see a savings of closer 8%. This savings will be somewhat offset with cuts in City services and/or higher property taxes.
Clearly not understanding FPL’s track record of successfully persuading the Florida Public Service Commission to approve storm recovery charges, Zudans asserted that the sale will “immediately eliminate the natural disaster risk for Vero Beach and county ratepayers.”
What is most important is what Zudans did not say in his “Insight Opinion” column. The contract to be considered by the City Council later this month will obligate the City to sell FPL just the Indian River Shores portion of its customers base, if the full sale prove impossible to conclude. (Necessary approvals from the Florida Municipal Power Agency’s member cities have yet to be obtained.)
When asked as yesterday’s Taxpayes Association candidate forum about the partial sale, Zudans said he could not comment on it because he had not studied it. Astounding!
For the remaining customers of Vero Electric and the residents of Vero Beach, a partial sale will mean higher electric rates and higher taxes. This is not a good deal for the people Zudans claims to want to represent.