Winger inquiring about still more missing documents 8

Will you get me some help with what ‘appears’ to be missing?,” City Councilman Richard Winger wrote to the City Clerk today.

MARK SCHUMANN

Though just two days remain before the FPL-controlled majority on the Vero Beach City Council will presumably approve a proposed purchase and sale agreement for the handover of Vero Electric, many documents appear still to be unavailable for review by members of the Council, or by the public.

Councilman Richard Winger today wrote the following email to City Clerk Tammy Bursick asking about documents that, presumably, will be part of the contract between the City and FPL.

Winger’s email to the City Clerk: More…

Elite Airways now flying roundtrip to White Plains, NY Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Elite Airways has added new roundtrip flights between Vero Beach and White Plains, NY (Westchester County Airport – HPN) during and around the December holiday weeks—providing Vero Beach residents with more opportunities to fly back and forth to the NYC region during the holidays. Early bird fares start at $199.00 each way, and are scheduled as follows:

Thursdays & Sundays between Dec. 21, 2017 and Jan. 4, 2018:

  * Depart VRB 2:15 p.m. arrive HPN 5:00 p.m.

  * Depart HPN 5:45 p.m. arrive VRB 8:30 p.m. More…

Orlando Utilities Commission braces for loss if its biggest customer: Vero Beach Reply

InsideVero editor’s note: Why has the OUC board of directors agreed to accept $20 million to release Vero Beach from its long-term power purchase agreement, even though the utility’s administrators believe damages will far exceed $20 million?

Reportedly, Florida Gov. Rick Scott called Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and told him the OUC needed to find a way to help make it possible for Florida Power and Light to acquire Vero Electric. Dyer sits on the board of the OUC and appoints members to the governing body. One can only imagine how much money FPL will be contributing to Scott’s U.S. Senate campaign, as well as to political action committees and electioneering communications organizations supporting him.

As the utility giant is doing across the state, FPL has also used its considerable financial resources to buy influence at City Hall. Council members Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes were all elected with considerable financial support from FPL.  In the current race, FPL has invested no less than $50,000 to support political newcomer Val Zudans and to aid Howle in his bid for re-election. Sadly, these politicians are not committed to serving the best interests of their constituents. Rather, the are beholden to the state’s largest investor-owned utility.

The following story about the OUC and Vero Beach was recently published by the Orlando Sentinel. 

KEVIN SPEAR/ORLANDO SENTINEL

Orlando’s biggest electricity customer — the city of Vero Beach — is getting ready to pull the power plug.

It’s a potential hit for the city-owned Orlando Utilities Commission, which is a significant funding source for city hall, paying for police, fire, parks, administration and other services that otherwise would be covered by taxpayers…

As part of dropping Orlando’s utility as a power provider, which is on track to happen next year, Vero is offering to pay OUC $20 million in compensation.

An OUC administrator previously told Vero Beach that such a settlement sum would not nearly cover Orlando’s potential losses from the exit of such a big customer… More…

Details of power sale still dribbling in to City Hall – Council set to vote Tuesday 9

MARK SCHUMANN

At six minutes to 5:00 yesterday, the City Clerk’s Office received still more documents related to the purchase and sale agreement between Vero Beach and Florida Power and Light for the sale of Vero Electric. At this point, it is all but impossible to believe the members of the Vero Beach City Council will have time to thoroughly review the details of the $185 million deal before the meet next Tuesday at 9:30 in a special call meeting.

Council members Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes, who are rushing to sign the deal before the Nov. 7 municipal election, have forbidden the Finance and Utilities Commissions from meeting to review the several-hundred-page contract.

Latest email from City’s outside attorney: More…

FPL funds attacks on Kramer 5

Florida Power and Light’s political action committee, Clean Sweep for a Brighter Tomorrow, recently sent out this mailer attacking Jay Kramer.

COMMENTARY

“When Vero Beach voters cast their ballots, either in early voting or on Nov. 7, they will have to decide whether they want their local government controlled from City Hall, or from FPL’s corporate offices in Juno Beach.”

MARK SCHUMANN

Former Vero Beach Mayor Jay Kramer resigned from the Vero Beach City Council last summer to run for a seat on the Indian River County Commission. Kramer lost to incumbent Bob Solari in the Republican primary, and is now seeking to return to the City Council.

Through a political action committee to which it gave at least $50,000, Florida Power and Light is trying to stop Kramer, as well as former Councilman Randy Old, from returning to the Council and having any say in how the company takes over Vero Electric.

Yesterday, a mailer attacking Kramer went out under the name of Clean Sweep for a Brighter Tomorrow. Clean Sweep is a political action committee wholly funded by FPL. Because the FPL-funded PAC is artfully dodging requirements to report its contributions and expenditures to the City Clerk’s Office, it is not known how much more money FPL may have given Clean Sweep since its initial contribution of $50,000 in late September. More…

Indian River State College recognized nationally for student success Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Honored earlier this year as a Top Three Community College in the nation for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Indian River State College has been selected for Aspen Prize eligibility in 2019. Named in the Top 150 colleges, IRSC will compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition for high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. More…

Campaign cash from utilities? ‘I’ll accept it,’ Richard Corcoran says Reply

Richard Corcoran – Perhaps relaxing from the pressures of raising money to further his political career.

Editor’s note: It was Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran who reportedly used a lobbyist as a conduit to deliver a threat to Florida Municipal Power Agency leaders that they needed to find a way to make it possible for Florida Power and Light to buy Vero Electric – or else.  It appears that in order to first buy Vero Electric, FPL had to take a significant investment position in the political franchise that is Richard Corcoran. 

Locally, Vero Beach City Council candidates Harry Howle and Val Zudans are being supported by a political action committee that received all of its $50,000 in funds directly from FPL. The PAC is currently flooding local media and mail boxes with misleading advertising greatly exaggerating the savings and benefits to come from the sale of Vero Electric to FPL. 

If the contract between the City and FPL is to be signed before the Nov. 7 municipal election, as FPL quislings Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes have pledged to do, then why is FPL spending big money to control the outcome of yet another Vero Beach municipal election? The answer may be found in looking back to the spring of 2013, when FPL asked the Council to agree to changes to the previous purchase and sale agreement. By FPL’s own admission, those contract changes would have cost the public $26 million. Perhaps what FPL is driving for is a solid Council majority that will follow their every directive as the utility giant takes over Vero Electric. 

MITCH PERRY/FLORIDA POLITICS

While GOP gubernatorial rivals Jack Latvala and Adam Putnam feud over campaign contributions from investor-owned utilities, Richard Corcoran is watching from the sidelines.

As reported by FloridaPolitics last week, Agriculture Commissioner Putnam’s political committee has received nearly $800,000 from the utilities, and another $1.8 million to political committees that may have been re-directed to him. Continue reading…

FPL’s quislings, Howle, Moss, Sykes, rush power sale through without review 2

Provision for partial sale is the real Trojan Horse
COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Moss – Team FPL

Howle – Team FPL

Sykes – Team FPL

Vero Beach Mayor Laura Moss claims proposed revisions to the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan contain a “Trojan Horse.” Moss’ assertion is so delusional it raises questions about her fitness for office. Ironically, if there is a Trojan Horse endangering Vero Beach, it is a provision in a contract Moss and her fellow Florida Power and Light quislings, Harry Howle and Lange Sykes, are rushing to sign before the Nov. 7 election.

Imbedded in the several hundred page contract, which just arrived at City Hall yesterday, is a provision that will require Vero Beach to sell the Indian River Shores portion of its electric system to FPL, in the event a sale of the full system proves impossible. Several members of the Finance Commission have spoken out publicly against tying the full sale and a partial sale together in one contract, and the Finance Commission as a whole has urged the Council not to agree to a partial sale under the terms currently proposed by FPL. More…

Inventions of the press and other falsehoods 4

COMMENTARY

“So, when Wixon wrote, ‘…Vero Beach officials repeatedly said they tried to reduce rates,’ she is simply not reporting the truth. For in truth, Vero Electric’s rates have come down, while FPL’s rates have and will continue to rise.”

MARK SCHUMANN

In a story on the latest proposed contract between Vero Beach and Florida Power and Light for the sale of Vero Electric, Press Journal/TCPalm reporter Colleen Wixon wrote, “For their part, Vero Beach officials repeatedly said they tried to reduce rates for all customers.”

Tried?

In fact, over the past four years, Vero Electric’s rate for 1000 kilowatt hours of power has come down 11.2%, while FPL’s rate has risen 6.6%. Still further rate increases for FPL, already approved by the Florida Public Service Commission, are set for the next few years.  In addition to these scheduled FPL rate hikes, the company recently announced it will be seeking PSC approval to assess additional storm recovery charges.

In total, coming rate increases for FPL could well erase any rate differential between Vero Electric and the state’s largest investor owned utility. More…

Gorry again raises concerns about lack of due diligence on partial sale Reply

Peter Gorry

Editor’s note: The FPL-sponsored City Council majority of Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes has forbidden the Finance and Utilites Commissions from holding meetings to review the terms of the proposed sale of Vero Electric to Florida Power and Light. These citizen advisory boards are also forbidden from meeting to review the terms of what could become a partial sale of Vero Electric’s Indian River Shores customers. Today, Finance Commission member Peter Gorry sent the following message to the Council raising his concerns about the process, and about what he believes will likely be negative impacts of any partial sale.

From: Peter Gorry
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 2:17 PM
To: Bursick, Tammy
Subject: FPL/VBE Sale

Mayor Moss and City Council Members,

The Finance Commission was clear, our vote at the joint FC/UC meeting was for the full sale only. Not for any partial sale. More…

FPL-sponsored Council majority pushing power sale contract forward without review 3

COMMENTARY

“I insist that the Finance Commission be allowed to do their job.” – Richard Winger

MARK SCHUMANN

Including the $50,000 Florida Power and Light recently gave to a political action committee supporting candidates Harry Howle and Val Zudans, the company has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars sponsoring City Council candidates who will agree to its every demand as it seeks to takeover Vero Electric.

FPL’s investment is paying off. Council members Harry Howle, Laura Moss and Lange Sykes, all of whom occupy seats on the Council that were essentially “bought” by FPL, seem determined to speedily accept without any negotiation on the City’s behalf, and without any review by the Finance and Utilities Commissions, a new purchase and sale agreement of some 500 pages.

Howle, Moss and Sykes are pushing through the power sale exactly as FPL would want them to, without serious negotiation and without public review. They are serving FPL quite well, but their actions raise questions about whether they are also serving the people of Vero Beach.

Why the rush to sign the contract before the Nov. 7 Council election? Why the absence of any serious negotiations? Why the determination to prevent the members of Finance and Utilities Commissions from reviewing and discussing the terms of the contract in public? More…

Penny Chandler to retire from IRC Chamber of Commerce 1

Penny Chandler

Indian River County Chamber of Commerce executive Penny Chandler has announced to the Chamber Board of Directors and staff her intention to retire in February of 2018.

Chairman of the Chamber Board Robert Paugh stated that “Penny has maintained and provided leaders with a sound succession plan for years. It is now time for us to implement that plan as we move forward with a formal search to find the next executive.”  He added that “Chandler will lend her professional experience to move that plan into place and work with the Board as they fill the position.”

Chandler has been in Chamber management for thirty-seven years. She was recruited from the Annapolis, Maryland Chamber of Commerce to fill the Chamber executive’s position in Vero Beach in October 1995. She previously had worked with the Chambersburg, Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce. More…

O’Malley and Major League Baseball in discussions on future of Historic Dodgertown Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Peter O’Malley, Chairman, Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida, confirmed today that he is in discussions with Major League Baseball about the future of the world-famous training site. The story was first reported by columnist Larry Reisman on TCPalm.com last night. 

“I am optimistic that Major League Baseball (MLB) will follow me and become responsible for Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach moving forward,” said O’Malley, longtime former President and owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

“The Vero Beach community has long supported Historic Dodgertown,” O’Malley continued. “We appreciate that and are proud of what we have accomplished. MLB’s involvement would take Historic Dodgertown to a higher level.

“Looking to the future, I will be happy to help in any way I can.”

Continue reading the full TC Palm article...

Zudans plays ‘TRUMP’ card, claims accurate reporting on his positions is ‘fake news’ 2

COMMENTARY

“Zudans can pretend truth is whatever he wants it to be, but his own words speak for themselves.”

MARK SCHUMANN

Val Zudans

Donald TRUMP

During a recent candidate forum sponsored by the Taxpayers Association, Val Zudans dismissed as “fake news” InsideVero’s reporting on positions he has taken on selling Vero Beach’s water and sewer utility to the County and on the City’s continued ownership of other enterprise funds.

Donald TRUMP, who now claims to have introduced the term “fake news,” would surely give a wink to Zudans’ attempt to weasel out of any consequence for his past statements by attempting to discredit the media.

The claims and denials Zudans made today are in direct contrast to earlier statements he had made on the issue. In a column published in the island weekly on April 13 of this year Zudans wrote, “Get government out of every business where they have no business…Government has no business in the marina business when others can do it much better at lower cost. City government should not be in the water and sewer business if the county can do it better at lower cost.”

Zudans can pretend truth is whatever he wants it to be, but his own words speak for themselves.

So, I will say what I have said before, if Val Zudans is elected to the City Council, and if Harry Howle is re-elected, it will not be long before they are clamoring to sell the water and sewer system to the County. The consequences could be devastating for the City.

On top of the power sale, the loss of enterprise fund revenue from the water and sewer system will be more than the City can absorb without having to drastically cut services. These service cuts will almost surely include turning over public safety to the Sheriff’s Office.

When it comes to bristling at being held accountable, Zudans and TRUMP have good company. As President, Thomas Jefferson, a great defender of the free press, found accountability by the media annoying. At one point during his presidency Jefferson wrote, “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.”

In attempting to shift accountability from himself by blaming the media, Zudans is proving that he is just another politician. His positions may be relative, but truth is not.

Related story: What Vero Beach’s taxpayers should know about their water and sewer system

 

Old outlines his priorities a candidate for City Council 2

COMMENTARY

Editor’s note: Randy Old is a candidate for the Vero Beach City Council. Old previously served on the Council from Nov. 2014 to Nov. 2016.

RANDY OLD

Randy Old

I am running for City Council because I enjoyed the two years on the Council, I felt that I was just beginning to contribute, and if I had another term I could be much more productive. My long career in business and finance could be a benefit to the city, and I feel strongly about giving back to this wonderful community.

I am pro sale…I feel this is the first time that the City has a reasonable offer to sell Vero Electric, the community has voted to sell it, and the subject has been toxic for several years harming the ability of the council to pay sufficient attention to the routine matters of maintaining and operating the city. However, selling it is only half of the job, the other half is insuring that the sale’s adverse effects on the residents is minimal, and this will take time, effort, and expertise. This is where my background can help.

I am in favor of doing all we can to help the lagoon, and this includes establishing the storm water utility.

I am for stopping or delaying the fast train coming through Vero

I am for passing the comprehensive plan as soon as possible

I participate in other Vero projects, I am the chair of the Old Vero Ice Age Sites Committee, and on the Finance Commission.

Civic clubs now outlets for Moss’ misinformation campaign 3

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

This flyer was recently passed out at a meeting of the Vero Beach Rotary Club. Moss and company seem determined to use every means possibly to spread unfounded fear and anxiety.

If someone told me Councilwoman Laura Moss, activist Phyllis Frey and some of their friends with the local Republican Alliance for American Greatness visited Roswell, New Mexico in search of unidentified flying objects, the news would come as no surprise. Moss, Frey and their RAAG friends are, after all, given to embracing the wildest of conspiracy theories.

Recently, RAAG, (a club within the Indian River County Republican Party), sent out invitations encouraging attendance for an event at which Moss is to peddle an unfounded theory she and Frey have concocted about how revisions to the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plane were somehow written, not by City Staff and by members of the Planning and Zoning Board, but by outside consultants and bureaucrats connected with United Nations Agenda Twenty 21. More…

Winger questions Republican Executive Committee’s sponsorship of ‘crucial meeting’ 2

COMMENTARY

“On ethics, transparency, transportation and infrastructure Moss has earned the grade of “F.” And for its endorsement of Moss last fall the Press Journal editorial board deserves an “F” as well.”

MARK SCHUMANN

Richard Winger

Laura Moss – Self-described “Queen of Vero Beach.”

Recently, the Indian River County Republican Party Executive Committee, which is closing its doors and claims to be unable to find new office space to rent, sent out an invitation seeking attendance for what it described as a “crucial meeting.”

At that meeting City Councilwoman Laura Moss plans to peddle a bizarre conspiracy theory about how revisions to the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan were written by “nameless bureaucrats” outside of Vero Beach. Moss, having apparently fallen under the spell of activist Phyllis Frey, sees all manner of ghosts and goblins hiding in proposed revisions to the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. More…

Heady outlines position on power sale, other issues 1

GUEST COMMENTARY

Editor’s note: Brian Heady is a candidate for the Vero Beach City Council.  Nov. 7 voters will chose among 6 candidates to fill two seats on the Council.

BRAIN HEADY

Brian Heady

Generally speaking I believe:

1. The sale of our electric utility should be an open bid / purchase offer process inviting any viable utility to bid or make offer.  Analysis of all bids and open discussions by advisory committees.  No break up of system prior to that process. 

2. Any new plan for development or change in any codes should have a review by City Council with their additions or strike outs incorporated and then a vote.

3. Twin pairs parking temporarily by simply a restripe of lanes with parallel parking in one lane of each direction downtown.  If it works then a permanent solution.

4. No sale of ANY city real estate assets without a review of financial consequences.  

5. No further erosion of city owned assets.  

6. City police ABSOLUTELY favorable to any takeover by county sheriff.  

Have Indian River County Republicans fallen for Moss’ and Frey’s scare tactics? 5

COMMENTARY

“If anything is a threat to home rule for Vero Beach, it is that outside interests are essentially buying seats on the City Council. In the election to be held Nov. 7, FPL has already invested $50,000 to support Harry Howle and Val Zudans.”

MARK SCHUMANN

To listen to Vero Beach City Councilwoman Laura Moss and activist Phyllis Frey, you’d get the idea that the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council and the Seven 50 planning group, under the direction of United Nations “bureaucrats,” authored recently proposed revisions to Vero Beach’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. According to other member of the City Council and of the Planning and Zoning Board, nothing could be further from the truth.

But Moss and Frey are not going to let facts get in the way of their grandstanding. Sadly, the Indian River County Republican Executive Committee appears to have falling for this nonsense. Just today, the IRCREC sent out an email inviting people to attend a luncheon on October 26 at which Moss will peddle the bizarre conspiracy theory she and Frey have cooked up. More…

Howle and Zudans would eviscerate the City of Vero Beach 7

COMMENTARY

“With a 4-person anti-city City Council majority, the challenge will not be to ‘Keep Vero Vero,’ but simply to ‘Keep Vero.'”

MARK SCHUMANN

If on Nov. 7 Vero Beach voters elect a Council majority determined to set in motion the eventual disincorporation of the City, it won’t be because they have beed duped. No, all the cards are on the table.

Candidates Harry Howle and Val Zudans, who seek to join Laura Moss and Lange Sykes in an insuppressible 4-person majority, have in the past made it crystal clear they want, not only to sell Vero Electric, but to divest the City of its other enterprise funds. If Howle and Zudans are elected, on the chopping block will be the water and sewer department, solid waste services, the marine, and possibly even the airport. The loss of all enterprise fund revenues will cripple the City, which is exactly what Howle and Zudans seek to do. More…

FPL pours another $50,000 into a Vero Beach municipal election 4

Supporting Harry Howle and Val Zudans, FPL seems determined to “buy” two more seats on the Vero Beach City Council.

COMMENTARY

“In addition to selling Vero Electric, Zudans and Howle have expressed support for handing the City’s water and sewer utility over to the County. Zudans has also advocated turning responsibility for public safety within Vero Beach over to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office. To get elected, both candidates may cynically, but only temporarily, backtrack from these positions.” 

MARK SCHUMANN

During the most recent legislative session, the Tampa Bay Times editorial board described the Florida Legislature as “a wholly owned subsidiary of Florida Power and Light.”  Sadly, the same may soon be said of the Vero Beach City Council.

A flood of political post cards funded by FPL began arriving in local mail boxes today. Supporting candidates Harry Howle and Val Zudans, the mailers were prepared and paid for by Clean Sweep for a Brighter Tomorrow, a political action committee that recently received a $50,000 cash infusion from FPL. More…

Voters asked to extend Council terms from two years to three 7

From 2018 through 2025, the proposed change in the City Charter would save the City a total of approximately $27,500, or an average of $3,437 per year. This, some say, is a small savings to gain in exchange for rendering Council members less accountable, or for essentially reducing voters participation.

MARK SCHUMANN

When Vero Beach voters go to the polls Nov. 7 to choose among six candidates to fill two Council seats, they will also be asked to extend the term of office for Council members from two years to three years. If approved, the change in the City Charter will take effect in 2018.

One argument in favor of extending Council terms is that it will save the City money. From 2018 through 2025, for example, there would be six municipal elections rather than eight. In a year when other races are on the ballot, Council elections cost the City approximately $5,500, compared to the $22,000 is costs to hold an off-year municipal election when there are no county, state, or federal elections on the ballot. More…

Council set to pull trigger on full or partial sale of Vero Electric Reply

NEWS ANALYSIS

MARK SCHUMANN

The hypocrisy Vero Beach City Council members Laura Moss and Lange Sykes displayed in Tuesday’s meeting was shocking. Moss and Sykes made it clear that, if allowed, they would spend months pouring over every detail in a non-binding proposed Comprehensive Land Use Plan, yet even though they do not yet have in hand the proposed purchase and sale agreement for the sale of Vero Electric, they are determined to approve the contract by election day. More…

‘Queen Laura’ latest storm to visit Vero Beach 4

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Laura Moss – Self-described “Queen of Vero Beach.

Vero Beach Mayor and self-described “queen” of the City, Laura Moss, finally got called on the carpet this week for her continued dictatorial behavior. “This is not Venezuela, Mrs. Moss,” Councilman Richard Winger said during Tuesday’s Council meeting.

Throughout her term as mayor, Moss has repeatedly overstepped the very limited authority given her by the City Charter. Most recently, Moss took it upon herself to direct the City Clerk’s Office to move a discussion item submitted by Winger farther down the agenda. Winger sought to propose that the Council press forward with completing revisions to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan by its Nov. 7 meeting, so the document can finally be submitted to the state.

When it became obvious Winger’s proposal had majority support, Moss said, “This is why I put this on the agenda under Members Matters, because this is what I thought would happen.” More…

2017 Jeane Graves Charity Cupcake Challenge November 5 Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Is “Baking” your Super Power? Do your friends rave over your cupcakes? It is time for the Jeane Graves Charity Cupcake Challenge; a fun competitive bakeoff to raise money for The Michael J. Fox Foundation. This event is Sunday November 5th at 2:00pm at The Heritage Center in downtown Vero Beach.

Bakers will compete in three divisions; Professional Baker/Restaurant, Individual Bakers and a Junior Baker Category for ages 8-14. Take advantage of the early entry fees of $10.00 for Individual and Junior Bakers and $15.00 in the Professional Baker/Restaurant division if registered by October 5th. The baker entry deadline is October 27th with fees of $15.00 for Individuals and $30.00 for Professionals to participate. Bakers can enter more than one cupcake. Contestants are to bring 5 dozen cupcakes made with standard 2 ½” cupcake papers and all cupcake decorations must be edible. One dozen will be displayed and the rest of the cupcakes are cut into bite sized pieces for tasting and voting by attendees. More…

Daiges respond to commenter’s assertions about Comp Plan 4

GUEST COMMENTARY

Related Story: Discussion on Comp Plan revisions is far from over

DEBORAH & KEN DAIGE

If one takes the time to read the Comprehensive Plan/Land Use Development Regulations Amendment Draft, one will notice the current plan with strike outs and the amended phrases. Most of the amendments add clarity, further explanation, and add statutes and building codes not in the current code. The amendments add further property right protections to older neighborhoods who have asked, repeatedly, for help with many serious conditions within their neighborhoods. The amendments to the Comprehensive Plan actually strengthen our local home rule character.

The following italicized are our responses to Ms. Susan Mehiel’s comment under: Discussion on Comp Plan revisions is far from over

smehiel says: September 25, 2017 at 10:53 am

(1)Susan Mehiel: “They do not seem to speak about what is actually in the Comp Plan.” I’ll tell you. The Comp Plan states: More…

City’s legal and consulting bills for utility sale at $337,386 and counting 4

NEWS ANALYSIS

MARK SCHUMANN

Randy Old

Harry Howle

To prepare the previous and now defunct purchase and sale agreement between Vero Beach and Florida Power & Light, the City paid more than $1 million in legal fees. That contract, which was signed by Tracy Carroll, Craig Fletcher and Pilar Turner, failed to address and account for the City’s contactual obligations to the Florida Municipal Power Agency and its bond holders.

In the latest push to sell Vero Electric to FPL, the new council majority of Harry Howle, Laure Moss and Lange Sykes, all elected with significant support from FPL, has run up an additional $337,386 in legal and consulting fees.  Since May of this year, the law firm of Carlton Fields has charged the City $332,710. And additional $4,675 has been paid to the firm of Nabors Giblin and Nickerson for counsel on bond issues.

Any sale of the full system must still receive unanimous approval from the member cities of the FMPA’s All Requirements Project.  As it is being written, the current purchase and sale agreement will commit the City to sell the Indian River Shores portion of the electric system, even if one or more FMPA ARP members block the full sale.

As a candidate for re-election last fall, then City Councilman Randy Old said he believed a sale of the full system at the price proposed would not be good for the City, its residents, or the remaining customers of Vero Electric. To approve the partial sale at the price offered by FPL, Old said, would be a violation of a Council member’s fiduciary responsibility to the City and to the people of Vero Beach.

Old was defeated for re-election, loosing by 27 votes to Lange Sykes. Sykes received 90 percent of his campaign contributions from Indian River Shores residents. During the election, as he was seeing support for Sykes among wealthy Shores residents, Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot described Sykes as “a member of the Shores team.” Sykes was also supported by a political action committee that received half of its $100,000 in contributions from FPL.

This year Harry Howle is running for re-election. Like Sykes, he too was first elected with support from a political action committee funded in part by FPL.

As a candidate this year, Old now supports the partial sale. If the retired banker was right last year, then the legal fees now being passed on to the customers of Vero Electric will prove just a fraction of the negative impact on rates that will result from handing Shores portion of the system over to FPL.

 

With election approaching, councilman urges city residents to ‘be engaged’ Reply

TONY YOUNG/VERO BEAC CITY COUNCILMAN

Tony Young

Dear Friends, Family & Supporters, Vero Strong! We have another storm in the books. It never ceases to amaze me how incredible our hometown is in good times and in tough spells. We are speeding through the months. The work never ends but that is a good thing. Here are some items that are on my radar.

Hurricane Irma recovery is going in a deliberate responsive manner. Your city was proactive with the multiple efforts necessary to absorb the storm impact. We learn from every natural disaster. But your understanding, resilience and generosity played a major part in keeping the potential harm to a minimum. Hurricane season runs through November. Please stay alert and plan accordingly. More…

McKee Botanical Garden announces 2017-2018 book club schedule Reply

NEWS RELEASE

McKee Botanical Garden’s Book Club will gather for its first meeting of the 2017-2018 season on Thursday, November 16 at 11:00 am in the Library at McKee.  The club will continue to meet the third Thursday of each month at 11:00 am in the Library at McKee, except in December. Here is the list of titles and meeting dates: More…

Discussion on Comp Plan revisions is far from over 3

“Essentially those against the Comp Plan are infringing on our property rights.”

Editor’s note: Former City Councilman and current member of the Planning and Zoning Board, Ken Daige, and his wife, Deborah, wrote the following summary of this past Wednesday’s special call meeting of the Council at which proposed revisions to the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan were debated.

DEBORAH AND KEN DAIGE

Summary – 9-20-2017 special call meeting of the City of Vero Beach Comp Plan:

Brief Translation – Comprehensive and Land Use Plan – The city’s blueprint and outline of land use, city provided levels of service, interlocal agreements for state and county infrastructure within the city, and funding for any and such projects.

1) The beginning commentary was from the majority of city council who lean toward not adopting the Comp Plan preferring to ‘stand alone’.

A motion was made by councilmember Sykes to prolong the process with a cooling off period while Mayor Moss rewrites the Comp Plan with the city manager and city planner. Councilmember Howle second the motion, which passed 3 to 1 (Moss, Howle and Sykes yes – Young no), at the culmination of the meeting. Winger left earlier in the meeting and was not there for the vote.

The P&Z Board was criticized in an insulting manner and accused of designing a Trojan Horse, the implication was that the P&Z Board and ‘outside influences’ such as the Regional Planning Council were the invading Trojans out to destroy the city.

2) Then the scheduled speakers: More…