Politics and Money: Legislator who received generous contributions from FPL accelerates two bills favorable to the company Reply

 

Editor’s note: Locally, Florida Power and Light gave $55,000 last fall to a political action committee supporting Laura Moss and Lange Sykes.  The only other contributors to the PAC were residents of Indian River Shores. In a previous election, FPL spent more than $50,000 on then Councilwoman Tracy Carroll’s campaign. The previous spring, the company spent more than $100,000 persuading Vero Beach voters to approve a purchase and sale agreement with the City of Vero Beach. In total, FPL has invested some $250,000 in political contributions to influence the outcome of Vero Beach’s municipal elections. The following story by Miami Herald reporter Mary Ellen Klas reveals how FPL’s political contributions are also winning the company favor in Tallahassee.

See also: When all else fails

MARY ELLEL KLAS/MIAMI HERALD

Sen. Frank Artiles put on a brown jacket with “NextEra” emblazoned on the back and waved the green flag for the unofficial start to the Friday night truck race at this year’s Daytona 500 weekend.

Within minutes, a dramatic crash became the highlight of the season-opening event sponsored by NextEra, the parent company to Florida Power & Light.

Artiles, the chairman of the Florida Senate’s Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee, also used the event to conduct a fundraiser, which he says raised him more than $10,000.

Now, Artiles, a Republican from south Miami-Dade County, is returning a favor to Florida’s largest utility. Continue reading…

 

YouTube video questions motives for partial sale Reply

Watch YouTube Video

Posting under the name “VideoM,” someone recently created a YouTube video raising questions about why City Council members Laura Moss, Lange Sykes and Harry Howle so fervently support the sale of Vero Electric Indian River Shores customers to Florida Power and Light.  The video mentions $50,000 in campaign contributions FPL made to a political action committee supporting Moss and Sykes.

The video also questions campaign promises made by Moss and Sykes about how proceeds from the sale could directly benefit the City and its residents.

Unaddressed, however, is the direct campaign support Moss, Sykes and Howle received from Shores residents. In the November elections, for example, Sykes took in 90% of his campaign funds from Shores contributors. Fully 70% of Moss’ campaign expenses were paid for with Shores money.

 

 

 

Shores Town Council to reconsider deed restrictions, right of way for property sale 2

The Town of Indian River Shores is planning to sell 5 acres of “surplus” oceanfront public open space. Just last week, the Town Council approved deed restrictions limiting development to no more than 15 units total. The Council also provided for a 5-foot right of way intended to preserve public access between Highway A1A and the ocean.

Those deed restrictions and the preservation of public right of way will again be up for discussion, when the Town Council meets in a special call meeting Thursday morning at 9 a.m.

Concerns over possible sale of old Dodgertown course raise larger questions about City’s future 2

COMMENTARY

“Reisman quoted former Vero Beach mayor Mary Beth McDonald as questioning if the City is really so desperate that it can longer afford to hold on to the Dodgertown property. The larger question everyone should be asking is whether, after the sale of Vero Electric and the forced takeover of its water and sewer utility, the City will be able to continue to exist as an incorporated municipality.”

MARK SCHUMANN

Related Story: Should Vero Beach sell old Dodgertown course?

Press Journal opinion columnist Larry Reisman today addressed a proposal for the City of Vero Beach to sell for $2.7 million 35 acres of land it purchased in 2005 for $10 million.

At the time the City acquired the old Dodgertwon golf course, supporters of the purchase argued that the move would prevent further residential development in an already congested area, and would provide for more public open space. If the City Council accepts the offer it has received from a Palm Beach Gardens developer, it will be taking a net loss of $7.3 million. Further, the Council will be paving the way for 280 new homes to be built on what was once a nine-hole golf course open to the public.

Reisman argues that selling the property for just $2.7 million will “compound the problems associated with a bad investment made 12 years ago,” concluding, “Quality of life is our No. 1 asset.”

If Reisman truly believes quality of life is the community’s “No. 1 asset,” then his unquestioning and unqualified support for selling Vero Electric to Florida Power & Light is, to use his words, “a sick irony.” More…

Status of power sale from the FMPA’s point of view 1

MARK SCHUMANN

In addressing the Vero Beach City Council earlier this week, Florida Municipal Power Agency General Manager Jacob Williams explained the FMPA’s position on the City’s proposed sale to Florida Power & Light.  Williams addressed both a partial sale of just the City’s Indian River Shores customers, as well a sale of the full system.

Williams explained that while the final numbers need to be worked out through more analysis and negotiations, the FMPA believe it can relieve Vero Beach of all its contractual obligations to the agency for approximately $108 million. Leader in Vero Beach, including councilman Richard Winger, see promise in the FMPA’s proposal.  Winger now believes that, rather than sell just the Shores portion of the City electric system, it is time to renew negotiations with FPL for selling the full 34,000-customer system.

FMPA Assistant General Manager Mark McCain today released a summary of the agency’s take on Tuesday’s Council meeting. Following is the full text of McCain’s report.

FMPA representatives were present at the Vero Beach City Council meeting last night. FMPA made a presentation on its review of Vero Beach’s proposed sale of its customers in Indian River Shores as well as explained FMPA’s preliminary option to help Vero Beach exit FMPA projects. The meeting went very well. On behalf of Jacob Williams, this email provides a description of key points in the meeting and provides corresponding video excerpts.

Below are eight highlights from the meeting with links to short video clips. The entire video of the meeting can be found online at: http://verobeachfl.swagit.com/city-council. FMPA’s portion starts early in the meeting and lasts approximately two hours. 

1.       Vero Beach’s Goal, and Good Working Relationships: Jacob Williams states Vero Beach Mayor Laura Moss has done a good job focusing on Vero Beach’s goal of selling its electric utility. Jacob says she understands that all 19 FMPA cities must approve any potential deal, so it is worth having a good relationship. Likewise, Rep. Erin Grall representing Vero Beach has been helpful facilitating positive efforts toward the same goal of selling Vero Electric. Jacob emphasized that if we can all focus on the goal, and not be distracted by other efforts, we can make good progress. [watch video]  More…

Finance Commission directed to no longer review proposed partial sale 3

MARK SCHUMANN

Ken Daige: "We want to know who is looking out for the interests of the people of Vero Beach."

Ken Daige: “We want to know who is looking out for the interests of the people of Vero Beach.”

The Vero Beach City Council this evening voted to direct the Finance Commission to no longer review or assess the proposed sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers to Florida Power & Light. The motion was made by Harry Howle, and supported by Laura Moss and Lange Sykes.

Council members Tony Young and Richard Winger strongly objected to muzzling the Commission. They argued that the Council could benefit from more analysis and input. They also pointed out that the Commission has so far never reviewed the proposed sale, because, at least until recently, key information about Vero Electric’s Shores customer base was not yet available.

Howle, Moss and Sykes all said they are clear about what they want to do regarding the Shore’s request for a partial sale, and are no longer in need of input and advice from the Finance Commission. (Howle, Moss and Sykes support the sale at $30, despite recommendations from a team of utility experts who advised it will take no less than $42 million to downsize Vero Electric without causing higher rates and higher taxes for the remaining customers of Vero Electric and for the taxpayers of Vero Beach. The Troika also continues to press for the partial sale despite the increasing likelihood that the entire system can now be sold.)

In the recent election, Moss received 70 percent of her campaign contributions from Shores residents. Sykes took in 90 percent of his campaign funds from the Shores, and a political action commission funded by Shores residents and by FPL supported both Moss and Sykes.  Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot also identified moss and Sykes as “members of the Shores team.”

That Howle, Moss and Sykes are pressing ahead without a review of the deal by the Finance Commission has some wondering who is looking out for the people of Vero Beach. Former councilman Ken Daige addressed the Council this evening, pointing out FPL has executives looking out for its interests, and Shores residents have elected officials looking out for them. “We want to know that you are looking out for our interests,” Daige said.

The Howle-Moss-Sykes Troika’s muzzling of the Finance Commission was followed by a heated discussion of the mayor’s authority relative to other council members. Last week, without approval from the full council, Moss pressured Finance Commission Chairman Glenn Brovont to cancel a meeting scheduled for Feb. 20. By acting unilaterally, Moss was acting beyond the scope of the City Charter, since the mayor’s position does not come with extra authority. “You are not the chief executive of the city,” Winger said to Moss.

Earlier in the the meeting, the Council hear from Florida Municipal Power Agency General Manager Jacob Williams. Williams laid out a plan and a timeline for enabling Vero Beach to end its membership in the power agency, thus paving the way for a sale of Vero Electric to FPL. Given that a sale of the full system now seems to be a real possibility, some wonder why Howle, Moss and Sykes are pushing ahead with a partial sale for the Shores, when a sale of the full system would bring rate relieve, not just for Shores residents, but for all 34,000 customers of Vero Electric.

 

Mayfield advocating 2-part sale of Vero Electric 4

MARK SCHUMANN

In her most recent newsletter, State Sen. Debbie Mayfield signaled she has lined up with Indian River Shores officials, who insist best way to sell Vero Beach’s entire electric system to Florida Power & light is to first carve off the Shores portion of the customers base.  Without question, a bifurcated sale will be more costly and more complicated for the City. This reality seems to be of little concern to Mayfield, or the Shores officials. Vero Beach City Council members Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes also contend a partial sale for the Shores is their first priority, and is being pursued “in the context” of a full sale.  Moss and Sykes, in particular, have strong ties to the Shores. In the recent municipal election, they received nearly all of their campaign contributions from Shores residents.

From Mayfield’s newsletter:

FMPA/Vero Electric Press Release

“After discussions with the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) and local government officials in Indian River County, tangible progress towards the sale of Vero Electric is taking place.  In a letter the FMPA provided to the City of Vero Beach, the estimated exit cost from three All-Requirements Projects that the city is currently involved in is $108 million.  Although completing this complicated transaction may take up to a year, it is the second phase of a two-part process which also includes the partial sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers to FP&L in the near term.”

Sale of Vero Electric now a real possibility 2

NEWS ANALYSIS

MARK SCHUMANN

The Florida Municipal Power Agency’s executive committee yesterday authorized General Manager Jacob Williams to begin discussions with Vero Beach officials to enable the City to exit the power agency. As a point to begin negotiations, the FMPA is suggesting it might be able to assume all of Vero Beach’s power purchase and power supply contracts, as well as contingent liabilities, for approximately $108 million. Williams is to address the City Council next Tuesday evening.

With yesterday’s development, what has long been an insurmountable wall of contractual obligations to the Florida Municipal Power Agency may soon be reduced to an intermediate hurdle, one that can easily be cleared, if Vero Beach leaders focus their efforts and work together to achieve the sale of Vero Electric to Florida Power and Light. Though $108 million may seem to many like a lot of money to exit contracts, it is significantly less than the $200 million to $300 million some had speculated would be needed to ensure other FMPA cities are not negatively impacted by Vero Beach’s exit from the joint action agency.

Some Vero Beach officials, including Councilman Richard Winger and Finance Commission chairman Glen Brovont, believe that, based on the price FPL had previously been willing to pay for the full electric system, it might now be possible to sell the electric system in a way that will not require tax increases for the people of Vero Beach. More…

More on the outside money that bankrolled Moss in recent election 1

MARK SCHUMANN

Laura Moss

Laura Moss

Vero Beach Mayor Laura Moss’ attempt to exercise authority not assigned to her by the City Charter has lead two council members to submit related agenda items for next Tuesday’s Council meeting. Given the recent offer by the Florida Municipal Power Agency to clear the way for Vero Beach to sell its electric system to Florida Power and Light, Moss’ behavior, and her dogged insistence on passing ahead with with Indian River Shores’ request for a partial sale, has some continuing to wonder about where the mayor’s loyalties lie.

Perhaps the answer can be found in, as they say, following the money.  During the recent municipal election, Moss was supported by a political action committee funded entirely by contributions from Shores residents and from FPL.  The PAC, chaired by Dan Stump, raised $106,249, with $55,000 given by FPL.  Additionally, seventy percent of the campaign funds raised directly by Moss came from Shores residents.

This unprecedented level of outside influence in a Vero Beach municipal election, though newsworthy, was never reported by the Press Journal, or by the John-Island-centered island weekly. (Press Journal publisher, Bob Brunjes, is married to a key FPL executive involved in the company’s effort to acquire municipal utilities.)

Not only was the PAC that supported Moss funded entirely with outside money, it used those considerably funds to mislead voters with what have no be proven to be false claims about the supposed benefits of the partial sale.

Below is a full accounting of the contributions to the PAC that supposed Moss. Other than the $55,000 given by FPL, all the remaining contributions were from individuals with homes in Indian River Shores.

flip-the-switch

An open letter to the Press Journal’s Adam Neal, Larry Reisman, Colleen Wixon 4

Colleen, Larry, Adam:

As Laura Moss continues to assert authority not given her by the City Charter, things at City Hall are heating up and may soon be out of control. I hope you are paying attention, for when the press does not fulfill its responsibilities autocrats can get away with all kinds of unreasonable and irresponsible acts.

As I trust you are aware, Vero Beach does not have a strong-mayor form of government, and certainly, at least until now, has not been governed by an autocrat.

Given the current tension between Finance Commission Chairman Glen Brovont and Mayor Moss, it should be remembered that Borvont was first appointed by Pilar Turner, and was recently re-appointed by Moss. He is by no means among the so-called opponents of the proposed power sale.

Surely you will recall when, a number of years ago, then councilwoman Tracy Carroll went before the Marine Commission telling them what advice she wanted to receive from the board.  Why have independent citizen advisory boards and commissions, if members of the City Council are going to instruct them what to think. Moss is now taking Carroll’s brand of manipulation to another level.  

So far, your newspaper has failed to report on the building tension at City Hall.  Similarly, during the fall elections the Press Journal never reported on the unprecedented level of outside money that poured into the campaign accounts of Laura Moss and Lange Sykes. Not offering commentary on the attempt by Indian River Shores residents and Florida Power and Light to influence the outcome of Vero Beach’s municipal election is one thing, but failing to report the facts is quite another. Freedom of the press is a public trust, and thus it is both a right and a responsibility. That cherished freedom is given, not for your commercial benefit or convenience, but in order that the public will have access to the information needed to cast informed votes.

Again, please pay attention to what is happening at City Hall. You have a job to do!

Sincerely, 

Mark Schumann

https://insidevero.com/2017/02/14/moss-asserts-authority-to-cancel-finance-commission-meeting/

https://insidevero.com/2017/02/14/finance-commission-chairman-responds-to-moss/

https://insidevero.com/2017/02/13/questions-raised-about-role-of-mayor-and-of-advisory-commissions/

Moss forces cancellation of Finance Commission meeting 4

Council to discuss mayor’s authority, procedures for boards and commissions

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Laura Moss

Laura Moss

Glen Brovont

Glen Brovont

More back and forth yesterday between Vero Beach Mayor Laura Moss and Finance Commission Chairman Glen Brovont led to a postponement of Monday’s scheduled meeting of the citizen advisory board.

After failing to persuade Brovont to drop from the agenda any discussion of the proposed sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers to Florida Power & Light, Moss directed the City Clerk to inform the members of the Finance Commission that their meeting scheduled for Monday was cancelled. In response, Brovont wrote the mayor, “With all due respect, please provide a copy of the written statutes, or other supporting legal documents, that authorizes you to cancel a duly called meeting of the finance commission.”

Though City Staff advised Brovont that he was within his rights to hold the meeting as scheduled, he ultimately agreed to postpone the next meeting of the Finance Commission until after the Council can discuss and review commission procedures.

Moss,who was identified last fall by Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot as being “a member of the Shores team,” won election in November with unprecedented outside support from Indian River Shores residents and from FPL. The “Shores team” member seems determined to do whatever she believes necessary to move forward with the Shore’s requested partial sale, including shutting down any discussion or review by the Finance Commission. More…

Finance Commission chairman responds to Moss Reply

Related Story: Questions raised about role of mayor and of advisory commissions

MARK SCHUMANN

Glen Brovont

Glen Brovont

Laura Moss

Laura Moss

Mayor Laura Moss yesterday sent an email “directing” the Finance Commission to not review or make recommendations on the proposed sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers to Florida Power & Light. Today Moss attempted to postpone the Commission’s meeting schedule for Feb. 20 until after the next City Council meeting, which is set for Feb. 21.

Finance Commission Chairman, Glen Borvont, today responded to Moss, insisting the Commission can, should and will review the proposed partial sale and will offer its advice to the Council. “Sound decisions are arrived at by listening to all sides of an issue, and particularly those committees the city has designated for such use; like the finance committee, and they are not fostered by: threats, intimidation, or autocratic leaders,” Brovont wrote.

Brovont also addressed Moss’ criticism of the Finance Commission for not previously reviewing the partial sale, as was done by the Utilities Commission, which at the time was chaired by Moss. Brovont wrote, “Prior to being authorized by city council the partial sale proposal at $30,000,000 was not subject to the due-diligent of the city’s finance committee but rather by the Utility Commission that was Chaired by you and supported by a board-member representing, albeit not fully, the benefiting city; Indian River Shores.  Although there is an excuse for it, the Vero Beach City Finance Committee was not allowed any input on the partial sale price proposal.”

Brovont also informed Moss he would not postpone the Commission’s next meeting until after the Feb. 21 Council meeting.

In her email, Moss asserted that the Finance Commission “serves at the pleasure of the City Council.” In fact, each City Council member appoints one of the five members of the Finance Commission. Brovont, who was appointed by Moss, wrote, “Although it is not clear in section 2-101 and 2-102 (City Charter) who designates or fires members, I presume you may not incur opposition if you would like to re-leave me.   I will forward my resignation if requested.”

Editor’s note: During the recent City Council election, Laura Moss received 70 percent of her campaign contributions from residents in Indian River Shores. She was also supported by a political action committee funded entirely by contributions from Shores residents and from Florida Power & Light. At a meeting held in the Shores early last full Moss was introduced by Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot as “a members of the Shores team.”

Below is the full text of Brovont’s response to Moss: More…

Howle, Moss and Sykes voting ‘under the influence’ 1

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Howle

Howle

Moss

Moss

Sykes

Sykes

Speaking before the City of Vero Beach Finance Commission earlier this week, City Manager Jim O’Conor said he agrees with and stands behind the assessment that it will take some $42 million, plus a $5 million allowance for contingent liabilities, to ensure a sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers does not negatively impact the remaining customers over the next 30 years.

By agreeing to accept just $30 million, O’Connor said the new City Council majority of Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes will be shortening by 10 years the period of time over which Vero Electric’ remaining customers will be protected from rate increases resulting from the sale.  This carving up of the utility is being done at the request of, and for the benefit of the Shores.

Why would Howle, Moss and Sykes make a $17 million concession that in no way advantages their constituents or the future customers of Vero Electric?  Quite simply, they are voting under the influence of Shores leaders and Florida Power & Light. More…

Partial utility sale could hurt local businesses Reply

NEWS ANALYSIS

MARK SCHUMANN

Local business owners enthused about the proposed sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers to Florida Power and Light may be in for an unpleasant surprise, if not a rude awakening.

In the short term, any partial sale is likely to lead to higher rates for the remaining customers of Vero Electric.  City leaders pushing for the downsizing of Vero Electric, namely Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes, say the sale for the Shores is being pursued “in the context of a full sale.” Yet, they have so for offered no explanation for how a partial sale would in any way improve the prospects of eventually selling the remainder of the system.

If the sale of the full system proves undoable, then local businesses could be facing higher electric rates, not just short term, but for many years to come.  Not only will local business face higher power costs, but so too will schools, governments, the hospital, churches, the Vero Beach Museum of Art, the Riverside Theatre and other non-profits. Worse, if the sale must be partially funded by a significant, long-term surcharge, that burden will fall entirely on the remaining customers of Vero Electric, including commercial customers, city and county government, the hospital and non-profits.  Make no mistake about it, with only 2.7 percent of Vero Electric business customers located in Indian River Shores, and some 97 percent of the City’s commercial customers located outside the Shores, any shift if electric costs could be significant.

Though the Shores represents just 8.7 percent of the City’s total customer base, those customers use more power than the average resident. What does this mean?  Quite simply, the Shores portion of Vero Electric contributes more than 8.7 percent of operating profits. The loss of these profits will inevitably lead to higher rates, and/or higher taxes for everyone else. More…

FMPA offers possible path for sale of Vero Electric Reply

NEWS ANALYSIS

MARK SCHUMANN

A solution may be on the horizon to overcoming impediments that have so far blocked the sale of Vero Electric. To date, the absence of a qualified utility willing and able to assume Vero Beach’s long-term commitments to three Florida Municipal Power Agency projects has stood in the way of the deal. However, at a meeting of the FMPA board of directors in Orlando today, FMPA General Manager and CEO, Jacob Williams, outlined steps the agency is willing to take to help facilitate the sale of Vero Electric to Florida Power and Light.

Williams indicated the FMPA’s All Requirements Project, made up of 13 municipally owned utilities, could assume Vero Beach’s position in the Stanton I and II coal-fired power plants in Orlando, as well as Vero Beach’s share of the FMPA’s fractional ownership in the Saint Lucie nuclear plant. Because the average cost of Vero Beach’s power from these three projects is more than twice the current short-term price for wholesale electricity, Vero Beach will have to pay the FMPA’s ARP to “buy” the City’s position in the power projects. “Vero Beach will have to pay other municipal utilities to take its shares,” Williams explained to the FMPA board. More…

Moss departs from her own ‘decree’ that all communication must be ‘cordial and positive’ 1

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Laura Moss - "Team Shores"

Laura Moss – “Team Shores”

Departing from the published agenda for Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Laura Moss opened by publicly berating Councilman Richard Winger for writing a guest column in which he shined a light on instances when previous City Council’s have made major decisions and commitments that have not turned out well for the taxpayers of Vero Beach and for the customers of Vero Electric.

Winger’s central point was that previous Councils have not alway taken the time necessary to properly “vet” important decisions. Winger said he wants to avoid making that same mistake with the proposed partial sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customer base to Florida Power & Light.

The original wholesale power agreement with the Orlando utilities Commission and the purchase of the old Dodgertown golf course for $10 million were to example Winger sited. In his column, Winger went on to urge the current Council to carefully consider and fully understand the implications of selling Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers base to Florida Power & Light for $30 million. (A team of 5 independent utility experts hired by the City concluded a sale for less than $47 million will expose Vero Beach taxpayers and the remaining customers of Vero Electric to higher taxes and higher electric rates. When the team reported its recommendations, their conclusions were supported buy City Staff.) More…

Howle’s Press Journal guest column simplistic, misleading 5

COMMENTARY

“The people of Vero Beach must decide for themselves if Howle is lying to them. At the very least, he is, intentionally or otherwise, misleading them into believing that what good for Indian River Shores is necessarily good for the taxpayers of Vero Beach.”

“If the customers of Vero Electric are not to be hung out to dry, it is critical that the Council first determine under what terms a sale of the remainder of the system could be possible.  To take this so-called “first step” without fully understanding what the next step will be is nothing short of foolish.”

MARK SCHUMANN

Harry Howle

Harry Howle

In 2015, when he won a seat on the Vero Beach City Council, Harry Howle promised the voters of Vero Beach he had a solid, five-point plan for selling Vero Electric to Florida Power and Light. More than a year has passed since Howle took an oath to serve the best interests of the City of Vero Beach and its residents, and yet he has not followed through on a single one of the five steps he once claimed were necessary to sell the system.

Instead of fulfilling his promise to bring rate relief to the people of Vero Beach and to all 34,000 customers of Vero Electric, Howle now claims selling just the Indian River Shores portion of the system is “an important first step.” (Howle offers no explanation for why selling off the Shores portion of the system now will in any way improve the prospects for selling the remainder of the system.)

What makes this “first step” so important?  As puppets of the Indian River Shores Town Council, Howle, and two new members of the Vero Beach Council, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes, have made it clear they intend to give Shores leaders what they want, regardless of the likely negative impacts on the taxpayers of Vero Beach and the customers of Vero Electric. More…

Reader Comment: Shores residents being ‘milked’ 8

Related Story: Civic Association calls for referendum on partial sale

Larry Wapnick writes:

“All of you are correct, but remember what got all of us into this mess. Bad decisions many years ago by elected former city council members. Since then we have all paid the price, but unfortunately the present residents of Vero are “holding the bag” and must do the right thing. Continuing to “milk” Indian River Shores Residents benefits the city, but it is wrong! Yes the new council members were voted in, the voters knew their platforms, and have owned up to doing the right thing. Let us move on, we will all survive. We will all support the city, and perhaps with lower electric rates be able to support it even more.”

InsideVero response:

One: The “bad” decision made years ago by former city council members that led to this “mess” was the initial agreement to serve the Shores with utilities. The second decision that led to this season of discontent, in which some Shores residents are customers of Vero Electric and other customers of FPL, was the Shores Town Council’s annexation of area north of the original Town limits.

Two: Vero Beach has not “milked” you or any other Shores electric customer. When those who wanted to develop the area of the island now known as Indian River Shores came to Vero Beach requesting utility services, they were well aware that Vero Beach does what nearly all other municipalities do in earning a percentage of its utility revenue as a return on investment/equity. Unlike FPL, Vero Beach does not use its earnings to pay multi-million dollar salaries to top executives. Rather, the money goes to outfit police cars with defibrillators, to pay municipal employees fair wages, to guard public beaches, to maintain the parks and other facilities Shores residents regularly enjoy at no cost. More…

Left unchecked, Howle, Moss and Sykes could do much harm to the people of Vero Beach 3

Tax hikes and electric rate increases will also affect businesses

COMMENTARY

Later, if and when it becomes clear the City’s contract obligations will continue to stand as an impediment to selling the remainder of the system, the slick talkers from FPL will be long gone; while the people of Vero Beach, and all the residential and business customer of Vero Electric, will be left with higher taxes and/or higher electric bills. The alternative, of course, would be to layoff still more City employees and gut municipal services.

MARK SCHUMANN

Robert Auwaerter

Robert Auwaerter

As implausible as it may seem, the current chairman of the City of Vero Beach Utilities Commission, Robert Auwaerter, also serves on the governing body of a municipality that sued Vero Beach, and that has asked the Florida Public Service Commission to force Vero Beach to abandon a portion of its service territory.

For the taxpayers of Vero Beach and the customers of Vero Electric the stakes a high. Auwaerter and his fellow Indian River Shores Town Council members are seeking to force a sale of Vero Electric’s Shores customers to Florida Power and Light at a price that is likely to lead to higher taxes and higher electric rates for the City’s remaining customers.

Auwarter has left no doubt where his loyalties lie, and they are clearly not with the people of Vero Beach, or with the customers of Vero Electric. Though he serves on Vero Beach’s Utilities Commission, Autwarter had no reticence in going before the PSC in September to assert that Vero Electric’s rates are excessive, abusive and monopolistic. Auwaerter was, of course, seeking to persuade the PSC to strip Vero Beach of its right to serve within the Shores.

When it became clear to Auwaerter and other Shores leaders that the Town’s PSC challenge would likely fail, they decided to instead get what they want by gaining control of the Vero Beach City Council. Their takeover of Vero Beach’s government did not require an invasion, or even email hacking. Shores leaders simply ran and funded a slate of candidates for the Vero Beach City Council. Those candidates were Laura Moss, Lange Sykes, and Norman Wells, all of whom attended a meeting in the Shores in late September where they were introduced by Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot as members of what he described as “the Shores team.” More…

Civic Association calls for referendum on partial sale 9

Editor’s note: In a letter addressed to the Vero Beach City Council, the Civic Association of Indian River County last week raised questions about the proposed sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customer base to Florida Power & Light.

Further, the group urged the Council to hold a referendum before going forward with the deal. While the voters of Vero Beach were asked in 2013 to weigh in or a sale of the full system, they have not been given a say in the carving up of the system at the request of the Shores. 

All of the offered $30 million sale price would need to remain in the electric utility for debt service and capital projects, and could not be used to buffer resulting tax increases or likely hikes in electric rates. During the recent municipal election, a political action committee funded by FPL and Shores residents placed advertising, funded robo calls and mailed post cards promising the sale proceeds would be a windfall to the people of Vero Beach.

The Shores-FPL funded PAC, which supported candidates Laura Moss and Lange Sykes, went so far as to propose that from the proposed sale every resident of Vero Beach could receive a check for some $1,900. 

Civic Association of Indian River County, Inc.

Dear Council:

The Board of Directors of the Civic Association of Indian River County wishes to voice strongly its urgent recommendation to delay the question of selling a portion of the City’s electric utility. This is a monumental step to take, especially in light of the many experts, both financial and legal, who have counseled against putting the City and its taxpayers at risk by such action. More…

Council moves ahead with partial sale 3

Electric rates and taxes likely to rise

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

By a vote of 3-2, the Vero Beach City Council yesterday accepted Florida Power and Light’s letter of intent to buy the Indian River Shores portion of the City’s electric utility for $30 million.

Rather than pushing ahead with a sale of the full electric system, the new Council majority of Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes has set in motion a downsizing of Vero Electric that is sure to result in higher rates and higher taxes. In explaining their support for the partial sale, each member of the Council’s new troika claimed, falsely, that the public has wanted “this” since 2009.

In truth, the “this” Vero Beach voters have supported is a sale of the full system. Such a sale would, in a single move, bring rate relieve to all 35,000 customers of Vero Electric. Vero Beach voters have never been asked if they would be willing to pay higher rates and higher taxes in order to bring lower rates to the residents of Indian River Shores. More…

Partial sale of Shores customers tops tomorrow’s City Council agenda 1

NEWS ANALYSIS

“Last year, Howle argued a sale of the full system is possible, if only the Council would, with resolve, implement his proposed five-point plan. Now Howle seems more interested in providing immediate rate relief for Shores residents, leaving his own constituents to wait in hopes a partial sale does not make a sale of the remainder of the system more difficult.”

MARK SCHUMANN

Winger

Winger

Howle

Howle

Vero Beach City Council members Laura Moss and Lange Sykes, whose campaigns were funded almost entirely by Indian River Shores residents and by Florida Power and Light, seem set to join with Harry Howle tomorrow in pressing ahead with the proposed sale of Vero Electric’s 3500 Indian River Shores customers to FPL.

The City now has in hand a letter of intent from FPL to purchase the Shores portion of the electric system for $30 million, including $3 million to be paid by Shores residents through a three-year surcharge. The Shores Town Council last week approved the surcharge, which would be assessed by FPL. More…

The great deception 1

No one can serve two masters

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Dan Stump

Dan Stump

Lange Sykes

Lange Sykes

Laura Moss

Laura Moss

During the recent Vero Beach City Council election, a political action committee headed by Dan Stump and funded by Indian River Shores residents and by Florida Power and Light promised voters a sale of Vero Electric’s Shores customers would result in a $30 million windfall that could be used to:

 

“Completely suspend ALL Ad Valorem taxes for the next 5 years”

“Lower the current Ad Valorem tax rate by 20% for the next 25 year”

“Suspend Utility Taxes for Vero Beach residents for the next 14 years”

“Pay for Vero Beach’s 4th of July Celebration for the next 2,000 years”

“Write a check to every single Vero Beach resident of Vero Beach for $1,941.09: for a family of four that’s $7,884.36”

“Pay off 80% of the $37 million that Vero owes in unfunded pension liabilities”

“Fully fund Vero Beach’s Police Department for the next 4 years”

As Vero Beach resident Steven McDonald explained during last week’s City Council meeting, the City’s bond covenants require that any proceeds from a sale of Vero Electric’s assets must be kept in the electric fund, and cannot be used to subsidize operating expenses. Further, and just as importantly, the proceeds from a partial sale can certainly not be used in any of the ways promised by the FPL-Shores-funded deception machine known as “Clean Sweep For A Brighter Future.”

Newly elected Council member Laura Moss and Lange Sykes seem determined to join Harry Howle in pushing the partial sale forward. Like Howle, they are prepared to reject the advice of five independent utility experts. Hired by the City to determine a “break-even” price, this group concluded that any partial sale of Vero Electric’s Shores customers for less than $47 million would lead to higher electric rates and higher taxes.

Accepting FPL’s offer of $30 million will certainly benefit FPL and Shores residents, but it also seems certain to disadvantage the remaining customers of Vero Electric and the residents of Vero Beach. Given that Moss and Sykes received nearly all their campaign contribution from Shores residents, and considering that they were supported by an FPL-Shores-funded PAC that flooded local mail boxes with political flyers full of lies and misinformation, it should come as little surprise that the Council’s newest members are willing to join Howle in selling out their own constituents in order to appease their patrons in the Shores and at FPL.

Above is screen shot from Operation Flip Switch's website. The Shore-FPL funded political action committee that supported Laura Moss and Lange Sykes turned out to be a misinformation machine. If Vero Beach is to honor its bond covenants and is to avoid destroying its credit rating, any proceeds from a sale of Vero Electric's shores customers will have to remain in the utility fund, and cannot be used in any of the ways promised by the FPL-Shores funded PAC that supposed Moss and Sykes.

Above is screen shot from Operation Flip Switch’s website. The Shores-FPL funded political action committee that supported Laura Moss and Lange Sykes turned out to be a misinformation machine. If Vero Beach is to honor its bond covenants and is to avoid destroying its credit rating, any proceeds from a sale of Vero Electric’s shores customers will have to remain in the utility fund, and cannot be used in any of the ways promised by the FPL-Shores funded PAC that supported Moss and Sykes.

FMPA summary of Nov. 22 Vero Beach City Council meeting 3

Laura Moss

Laura Moss

FPL Logo

Lange Sykes

Lange Sykes

Editor’s note: Newly elected Vero Beach City Council members Laura Moss and Lange Sykes received the vast majority of their financial support from Indian River Shores residents. Seventy percent of Moss’ contributions came from Shores interests. Sykes received 90% of his campaign funds from residents in the neighboring community. Both Moss and Sykes were supported by a political action committee that received $55,000 from Florida Power and Light, and another $60,000 from Shores residents. Moss and Sykes have now joined with Councilman Harry Howle in supporting a sale of Vero Electric’s Shores customers to FPL for $30 million. A team of five independent utility experts determined it will take, not $30 million, but $47 million to keep the proposed sale from leading to higher electric rates for the remaining customers and higher taxes for the residents of Vero Beach.

MARK SCHUMANN

In a memo written Nov. 22, Florida Municipal Power Agency staffer, Amanda Swindle, summarized the Vero Beach City Council’s discussion of a partial sale of the City’s Indian River Shores customer base to Florida Power and Light, as well as the termination of special utility counsel, Schef Wright.

Unlike the local press, namely the Press Journal, Swindle took note of Councilman Richard Winger’s effort to persuade the new Council majority to submit the proposed sale to the Finance Commission for review.

Below is the full text of an internal FMPA memo distributed to staff and members of the association’s board of directors and executive committee. The memo is a pubic record.

Vero Beach City Council Meeting – 11/22/16

The Vero Beach City Council met on Tuesday, November 22, at 9:30 a.m. This was the first City Council meeting after the November election. Laura Moss was nominated to serve as mayor, with Harry Howell designated as vice-mayor, for the 2016-2017 term. Later in the meeting Laura Moss was named as the Vero Beach representative to the FMPA Board. Two items on the agenda were of relevance—(1) “Discussion of Partial Sale (Vero Electric),” and (2) “Discussion to consider halting the service of Schef Wright.”

(1) Discussion of Partial Sale More…

New council majority fires special utility counsel, votes to move ahead with partial sale 3

Has Howle given up on sale of Vero Electric?

When Harry Howle ran for the Vero Beach City Council in 2015, he offered a five-point plan for selling Vero Electric. None of his proposals included a partial sale to the Shores. Now Howle argues a partial sale is somehow a essential step in moving toward a sale of the remainder of the utility system.

When Harry Howle ran for the Vero Beach City Council in 2015, he offered a five-point plan for selling Vero Electric. None of his proposals have been implemented, and, more importantly, none included a partial sale to the Shores. Now Howle argues that downsizing Vero Electric by selling off the Shores customer base is somehow an essential step in moving toward a sale of the remainder of the utility system.

COMMENTARY

“Echoing Brunjes, Moss, Sykes and Howle all said a sale of Vero Beach’s Shores customers is now a vital step toward a sale of the full system, though no one, including Brunjes, explained how a partial sale would clear the way for a sale of the remainder of Vero Electric. Howle’s support for a partial sale suggests he may no longer believe in the 5-point plan he laid out last year.”

MARK SCHUMANN

Newspaper advertisements like this one placed by a political action committee funded by Indian River Shores residents and by Florida Power and Light assured voters Laura Moss, Lange Sykes and Norman Wells can be counted on to conclude the sale of Vero Electric to FPL. On the strength of their promise to lower electric rates for everyone Moss and Sykes won election to the Council. Now Moss and Sykes have joined with Councilman Harry Howle to support a sale of the Shores customer base. The ad also made misleading promises about how the expected $30 million in sale proceeds could be used.

Newspaper advertisements like this one placed by a political action committee funded by Indian River Shores residents and by Florida Power and Light assured voters Laura Moss and Lange Sykes could be counted on to conclude the sale of Vero Electric to FPL. On the strength of their promise to lower electric rates for everyone Moss and Sykes won election to the Council. Now Moss and Sykes have joined with Councilman Harry Howle to support a sale of the Shores customer base. The ad also made misleading promises about how the expected $30 million in sale proceeds could be used.

Joining Vero Beach City Councilman Harry Howle in a new majority, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes, whose campaigns were heavily backed by Indian River Shores residents and by Florida Power and Light, took their place on the Vero Beach City Council this week. Together, Howle, Moss and Sykes acted quickly to re-start negotiations on a sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers to FPL.

The new council majority also voted yesterday to fire the City’s special utility council, Schef Wright. Wright has successfully represented the City before the Florida Pubic Service Commission and the Florida Supreme Court in cases brought by Indian River Shores and by the Indian River County Commission. Wright also led the negotiations on a revised wholesale power agreement with the Orlando Utilities Commission.

When first hired by the City, Wright received a letter of congratulations from FPL’s lead counsel. Now Moss, Sykes and Howle argue he is somehow in collaboration with the Florida Municipal Power Agency to block the sale of Vero Electric. Throughout his time in working for the City, Wright has continued discussions with FPL on how to move the sale forward, and all along FPL officials have said they have no new ideas for how to resolve Vero Beach’s contract obligations with the FMPA and its bondholders.

In a letter dated Nov. 18, Wright wrote, “…the sale process was, in practical terms, suspended when the OUC and the FMPA were unable to agree on terms that would satisfy their respective bond covenants and bond counsel.”

Several months ago, FPL offered $13 million, and later $30 million, for Vero Electric’s Shores customers. A team of five independent utility experts, hired by the City and led by Wright, calculated that carving off the City’s Shores customers and downsizing the system would require a sale price of $47 million, without the move leading to higher electric rates and higher taxes.  By a vote of 3-2, the previous Council rejected FPL’s $30 million offer but let it be known the City would consider an offer at $47 million. More…

Moss elected mayor, Howle vice mayor 5

MARK SCHUMANN

Laura Moss

Laura Moss

Harry Howle

Harry Howle

At an organization meeting of the Vero Beach City Council today newly elected members Laura Moss, Lange Sykes and Tony Young were sworn into office by City Clerk Tammy Bursick. The new Council then elected Moss mayor, and Howle vice mayor.  Though Moss is new to the Council, and Howle has already served a year, Howle nominated Moss for the position of mayor.

The Council will hold its first regular meeting tomorrow at 9:30. Moss has placed on the agenda a discussion of a partial sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers to FPL. Moss and Sykes were both heavily supported by Shores residents and by FPL. Moss received 70% of her campaign contributions from Shores residents. Sykes took in 90% of his campaign cash from residents in the neighboring community. Both Moss and Sykes were also supported by a political action committee that raised $55,000 from FPL, and another $60,000 from Shores residents.

Moss and Sykes, along with Howle, have pledged to sell Vero Electric’s 3500 Shores customers for $30 million. A team of five independent utility experts concluded it will take, not $30 million, but $47 million to keep the move from leading to higher electric rates and higher taxes. Outgoing vice mayor, Randy Old, who lost to Sykes by 48 votes, has said he believes it would be a breach of a council members fiduciary responsibility to agree to a partial sale at $30 million.

County customers of Vero Electric could be hurt the most by a partial sale 2

COMMENTARY

“More ominous, still, is the likelihood areas such as Grand Harbor and the south barrier island will soon begin clamoring for a second and a third partial sale. As Vero Electric is further downsized, the utility will become less and less efficient, leaving the remaining customers paying higher and higher rates.”

“Vero Beach residents concerned about the prospect of higher taxes and higher electric rates, along with county residents on Vero Electric, should begin now to form a coalition that can petition to PSC to fully consider the likely impacts of this proposed partial sale. If not, this sell-off for the benefit of the Shores will become just another example of how the wealthy are able to buy elections to further enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else.”

MARK SCHUMANN

To listen to Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot, one might get the impression "high" electric rates have left Shores residents eating cat food for dinner. The reality is that rates are not "unreasonable" or "outrageous;" and the people of the Shores, among the wealthiest in the nation, are no where near having to move themselves, along with their possessions, out onto the streets. Plain and simple, they have managed to use their wealth to buy control of the Vero Beach City Council, and now they are seeking to shaft everyone else in the community simply to benefit themselvess

To listen to Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot, one might get the impression “high” electric rates have left Shores residents eating cat food for dinner. The reality is that Vero Electric’s rates are not “unreasonable” or “outrageous;” and the people of the Shores, among the wealthiest in the nation, are nowhere near having to move themselves, along with their possessions, out onto the streets. Plain and simple, aided by FPL, Shores residents have managed to use their considerable wealth to buy control of the Vero Beach City Council. Now they are seeking to shaft everyone else in the community simply to benefit themselves.

Annoyed that the sale of Vero Electric to Florida Power & Light has been stalled, if not blocked by contract issues, local proponents of the deal, FPL officials, and Indian River Shores leaders, along with two newly elected FPL-Shores sponsored Vero Beach City Council members, are itching to release at least some of their pent-up frustration.

They seem convinced that selling Vero Beach’s 3500 Indian River Shores customers, a so called-partial sale, will have benefits beyond bringing barrie island residents in the Shore the electric rate relief they need to avoid slipping into the ranks of the homeless. To be sure, the partial sale will give FPL President and C.E.O., Eric Silagy, the small victory he needs to avoid accusations he misled a group of investors several years ago, when he claimed the company was on the verge of expanding its customers base by acquiring municipal utilities, starting with Vero Electric.

Unfortunately for the residents and taxpayers of Vero Beach and the remaining customers of Vero Electric, the deal could be bad for everyone but Shores residents and Silagy. In fact, if the new Shores-FPL sponsored City Council majority of Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes agrees to a partial sale at too low a price, and/or if the proceeds are misused in any number of ways that were promised during the campaign, City taxes and electric rates are sure to rise. More…

Heads may roll 2

NEWS ANALYSIS

MARK SCHUMANN

Vero Beach special utility counsel Schef Wright

Vero Beach special utility counsel Schef Wright

After re-negotiating Vero Beach’s wholesale power agreement with the Orlando Utilities Commission to save the City’s customers some $170 million, and successfully representing the City against legal challenges by the Indian River County Commission and the Town of Indian River Shores, Tallahassee attorney Schef Wright may soon be handed a pink slip by the new Howle-Moss-Sykes majority on the City Council.

Councilman Howle place the subject on the agenda for next Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Wright also coordinated the work of a team of five utility experts who calculated a $47 million break-even price for a partial sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers. Wright and the team were tasked with determining how much the City would need from the partial sale to prevent the move from leading to higher electric rates and higher taxes. Florida Power and Light has offered $30 million, with $3 million of that to be raised from Shores customers.

Along with Councilman Harry Howle, newly elected Council members Laura Moss and Lange Sykes have pledged to support a partial sale at $30 million. The Moss and Sykes campaigns were both heavily supported by Indian River Shores residents, and both were aided by a political action committee funded entirely by FPL and Shores residents. Moss received 70% of her campaign contributions from Shores residents, while Sykes took in more than 90% of his campaign funds from wealthy residents in the neighboring community. FPL gave $55,000 to the PAC, and that money was matched by another $60,000 from Shores residents. The PAC place advertising, mailed post cards and funded robo calls all in support of Moss and Sykes.

If Moss, Howle and Sykes dismiss Wrigth, they will be left needing to find another utility attorney to represent the City in its negotiations over the partial sale they now support. The only way to hire someone as familiar with the proposed sale as Wright would be to engage an attorney already involved on the Shores’ side of the deal. Given that Howle, Moss, and Sykes have a legal obligation to represent the best interests of the people of Vero Beach, hiring an attorney with an obvious conflict of interest could prove problematic.

Outgoing Councilman Randy Old, who lost to Sykes by 48 votes, has said he believes accepting $30 million for Vero Electric’s Shores customers would have been a breach of his fiduciary responsibility to the people of Vero Beach. If Old is correct in this assessment, Howle, Moss and Sykes may be opening themselves and the City to a legal challenge from residents and customers who do not want to be disadvantaged for the sake of Shores residents.

Howle, Moss and Sykes say they also support selling the remainder of the City’s electric utility to FPL, if and when a way can be found to resolve contract issues with the Florida Municipal Power Agency and its bondholders. Those in favor of a partial sale for the Shores have yet to make clear how the move would not render the remainder of the system less valuable, a development which would weaken the City’s chances of eventually receiving a sale price that would not require higher taxes and, worse, a surcharge on the customers to be transferred to FPL.

Worth Quoting 2

Mark Mucher

Mark Mucher

“I hope everyone can understand why I am confused.”

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Mark Mucher, a civic activist, and a frequent speaker during public comment time at City Council, Utilities Commission and Finance Commission meetings, came forward today to challenge information presented by Finance Commission chairman Peter Gorry. Gorry recently made a presentation to the Utilities Commission on how rates are established for investor-owned utilities. His report included a statewide electric rate comparisons for all utilities. As Gorry gave the Finance Commission a summery of his report, Mucher, apparently, did not like what he heard.

Referring to information Gorry gathered rate hike requests the state’s for-profit utilities have filed with the Florida Public Service Commission, Mucher said, “You have these top secret October reports. How can we just take your word for it?” More…

Country Club Socialism Reply

Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is too occupied trying to tip the outcome of the U.S. presidential election and in other ways destabilize the geopolitical order to know what is going on in Vero Beach and Indian River Shores. But if Putin were clued in, he would surely approve Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot's involvement in a effort by wealthy Shores residents to take over a neighboring community's municipal government.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is too occupied trying to meddle in the U.S. presidential election, and in other ways destabilize the geopolitical order, to know what is going on in Vero Beach and Indian River Shores. But if Putin were clued in, he would surely approve of Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot’s support of an effort by wealthy Shores residents to take over a neighboring community’s municipal government.

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Vero Beach 32963 Publisher Milton R. Benjamin

Vero Beach 32963 Publisher Milton R. Benjamin

Press Journal Publisher Bob Brunjes

Press Journal Publisher Bob Brunjes

Having just logged each of the 112 contributions made by Indian River Shores residents to three candidates running for election in neighboring Vero Beach, I am struck with the profound irony of these proclaimed capitalists advocating what amounts to “Country Club Socialism.”

In total, Shores residents have “invested” $48,700 in the campaigns of Laura Moss, Lange Sykes and Norman Wells, representing some 75 percent of all the money raised by these three candidates. When “the Shores Three” reported these contributions, they essentially deceived the public by listing their financial backers as residents of Vero Beach, when in fact nearly all of them live in Indian River Shores.

Shores residents have contributed another $51,000 to a political action committee supporting “The Shores Three.”  This PAC, Clean Sweep For a Brighter Tomorrow, also received $55,000 from Florida Power and Light.

What Shores residents want, of course, is to elect to Vero Beach’s city council three candidates who will force Vero Beach residents and the remaining customers of Vero Electric to subsidize lower electric rates for Town residents. Moss, Sykes and Wells make no secret of the fact that they are running as members of what Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot has described as “the Shores team.”

“The Shores Three” have pledged that, if elected, they will accept FPL’s $30 million offer for Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customer base. Candidates Sharon Gorry, incumbent Randy Old, and Tony Young have said they also support the sale, but are unwilling to sell for less $47 million. A team of five independent utility experts hired by the City concluded it will take $47 million to partition and downsize Vero Electric without the move hurting the remaining customers. More…