South Beach Property Owners Association to hold meeting Thursday at 4 p.m. Reply

A Special Meeting of the South Beach POA will be held on Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. in the Commodore’s Room at the Moorings Club.  The Commodore’s Room is located on the Lower Level next to the Dockside Grill.

AGENDA:

–IRC Commissioner Bob Solari.  Commissioner Solari, who represents the South Beach, will explain why the upcoming Water Sewer and Irrigation survey is important to WSI users in the South Beach.

–Glenn Heran, President, IRC Taxpayers Association.  Glenn will discuss recent developments on FPL’s offer to purchase the City’s electric utility.

Craig Weyandt, Superintendent, Moorings Golf Course.  Craig will review the “best management” practices he uses to prevent harmful nutrients from entering the Indian River Lagoon.

Ken Grudens of the Indian River Land Trust and Dr. Dennis Hanisak of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University will discuss the purpose, programs and objectives of the Land Trust and Harbor Branch in the quest to protect the Indian River Lagoon.  It is noted that the Land Trust now owns six miles of property that borders the Lagoon.

All South Beach residents are welcome to attend this Special Meeting

Finance Commission considers pension options, advises Council to consider alternate site for substation Reply

Pension consultant Rocky Joyner and Finance Director Cindy Lawson

Pension consultant Rocky Joyner and Finance Director Cindy Lawson

If and when Vero Electric is sold to Florida Power & Light, an estimated $30 million in electric system reserve funds will be available to the city.

The Finance Commission heard yesterday from pension consultant Rocky Joyner, of The Segal Company, about options for how some of that money could be used to reduce or completely pay off serious underfunding in the city’s pension fund. More…

Opinion – Proposed sale of Vero Electric to FPL looks more like a generous offer to a family member Reply

Arms Length

BY MARK SCHUMANN

Describing the collaborative relationship between the city’s staff, its transactional attorneys and their “counterparts” at Florida Power & Light, Mayor Craig Fletcher several months ago said, “They are like family.”

It is concerning that Fletcher would characterize as familial the relationship between two parties to what is supposedly an arm length transaction.

If the city’s staff and transactional attorneys were serving the interests of residents and taxpayers, then the best thing that could be said about them would be, not that they were “like family,” but that they drove a hard bargain and pressed for the best agreement possibly for the city. More…

Opinion – Fletcher’s comments may reveal motivations for turning over former postal annex property 4

BY MARK SCHUMANN
Mayor Craig Fletcher

Mayor Craig Fletcher

Speaking at a meeting of the Democratic Women’s Club of Indian River Co. Saturday, Mayor Craig Fletcher told the group he would like to see a marina eventually built on the power plant site.

For months, Fletcher has maintained he does not want the land to be used for “just a park,” but rather would prefer to see it developed in a way that can “make money for the city.” More…

Opinion – Likely three-year delay in power deal argues for considering a partial sale 2

In a meeting between the city’s transactional attorneys, John Igoe and Rick Miller, and officials of the Florida Municipal Power Association held in Orlando today it became clear city leaders are hoping against hope that Vero Electric can be sold to Florida Power & Light before late 2016.

In an effort to persuade FMPA officials the city should be free to terminate its membership in the All Requirements Project before October 1, 2016, Igoe and Miller argued that the proposed transaction between the city and FPL should be seen as an abandonment of assets, not a sale. More…

City’s transactional attorneys meet with FMPA officials – several key issues remain Reply

BY MARK SCHUMANN

VERO BEACH – The city’s transactional attorneys, John Igoe and Rick Miller, met with representatives of the Florida Municipal Power Association in Orlando today to discuss the proposed sale of Vero Electric to Florida Power & Light.

Because the city is a member of the FMPA, it has contractual obligations to the organization and its bondholders.  Whatever deal the city hopes to make with FPL must comply with FMPA contracts. More…

News Analysis – Would a sale by any other name smell so sweet? 2

In a memo dated Jan. 10, the city's transactional attorneys wrote that the contract negotiated between the city and FPL, covered in nearly 100 pages, with an additional 200 pages of attachments, is something other than an agreement for the "sale or lease" of Vero Electric.

In a memo dated Jan. 10, the city’s transactional attorneys wrote that the contract negotiated between the city and FPL, covered in nearly 100 pages, with an additional 200 pages of attachments, is something other than an agreement for the “sale or lease” of Vero Electric.

BY MARK SCHUMANN

VERO BEACH – On Jan. 10, just four days after presenting a proposed “purchase and sale agreement” between the city and Florida Power & Light, the city’s transactional attorneys wrote a memo explaining their rational for why the transaction “does not involve the sale or lease of all or substantially all of the City’s electric and integrated utility system.”

That memo is now before officials of the Florida Municipal Power Association, with whom the city has a contractual obligation to not “sell, lease abandon or otherwise dispose” of the assets of its electric utility system so long as it remains a member of the association. More…

Bush tells Vero Beach audience finding common ground could lead to more than doubling economic growth 1

BY MARK SCHUMANN

Former two-term Florida Governor Jeb Bush

Former two-term Florida Governor Jeb Bush

America’s highly polarized political debates and partisan politics have lead to gridlock and dysfunction in government, said former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, who spoke at the Emerson Center’s Celebrated Speakers Series yesterday.

What the nation needs, Bush said, are leaders who will focus on building consensus around policy initiatives that will allow for higher sustained economic growth over the next decade.

In lectures given at 4 and 7 p.m., Bush, who served as governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, said that if the county’s economy could be grown at a compounded rate 3.5 percent over the next ten years, rather than at the projected rate of 1.5 percent, the higher level of growth would create an additional $4 trillion of economic activity, raising an additional $1 trillion in tax revenues for local and state governments and for the federal government. More…

Charter Amendment Petition Form Circulating Reply

A group including former city attorney Charlie Vitunac is circulation a Charter Amendment petition.  If approved by voters, the proposed amendment to the City Charter would protect both the power plant site and the water treatment site for commercial use without voter approval.  The form, which appears below, can be printed and mailed to:  2606 Mockingbird Drive, Vero Beach, FL  32963.

Charter Amendment Petition

City planning to turn over prime commercial property for substation 2

The current substation that is part of the power plant complex now sis on approximately 1 acre.  That substation will have to be replaced with a new substation for which FPL has said it will need 3.5 to 4 acres.  The sales agreement calls for the city to deed to FPL the former postal annex site on the southwest corner of 17th Street and Indian River Blvd.  Other potential sites of less value are available, include two located between 17th and 18th Streets.

The current substation now sits on approximately 1 acre of land located immediately west of the power plant building.  That substation will be replaced with a new one for which FPL has said it will need 3.5 to 4 acres. The proposed sales agreement calls for the city to deed to FPL the former postal annex site on the southwest corner of 17th Street and Indian River Blvd. Other potential sites of less value are available, including two located between 17th and 18th Streets.

IV01113.Substation.3B

The above image illustrates what land might be deeded to FPL for its new substation.  Giving the company 3.5 to 4 acres of the power plant site, a move that would require voter approval, would leave approximately 13 acres for any public use allowed for in the City Charter. Some have speculated that the current Council wants to ensure that the entire site will eventually be available to lease for a commercial use.  “Go ahead and start looking at what we can use that for to start putting money back into the General Fund, and make it a revenue generating engine for us, rather than just a park,” Mayor Craig Fletcher said back in October.
BY MARK SCHUMANN

VERO BEACH – Acting on what he has said he considers to be direction from the City Council, City Manager Jim O’Connor negotiated a deal with Florida Power & Light that will have the city turning over 4.6 acres of prime commercial property for a new substation. More…

Referendum on power sale set for March 12 Reply

BY MARK SCHUMANN

Transactional attorney, John Igoe

Transactional attorney, John Igoe

VERO BEACH – City voters will go to the polls Mar. 12 to cast ballots in a binding referendum on the proposed sale of Vero Electric to Florida Power & Light.  The City Council set the date for the referendum at its meeting earlier this week.

Between Tuesday’s initial review of the purchase and sales agreement and the Mar. 12 referendum, the Council plans to move quickly to have the agreement reviewed by the Utility and Finance Commissions, and then examined again in a special called meeting of the Council to be held Feb. 12 at 9:30 a.m.  The agreement will then be considered by the Council at its regular Feb. 19 meeting, at which time the deal will presumably be approved. More…

Congressman Posey to open office in Vero Beach Reply

Congressman Bill Posey, representing the 15th Congressional District, is opening an office in the Indian River County Administration Building A, located at 1801 27th Street in Vero Beach.  According the the congressman’s office, staff members will be meeting with constituents by appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Anyone interested in meeting with a member of Congressman Posey’s staff can call 772.226.1701.

Rotary clubs host international guests 1

Incoming Rotary International district governors from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Zimbabwe and South Africa visited Vero Beach over five days this week before going on to San Diego for training.  The district governors were hosted by members of the Rotary Club of Vero Beach, the Vero Beach Sunrise Rotary Club and the Vero Beach Oceanside Rotary Club.

Now in its 38th year, Rotary Homestay is a program to promote international understanding, and has become an annual event.  As many of the 520 incoming Rotary district governors travel from around the world to San Diego for a week of training to prepare them for there year of governorship, they are hosted for several days or more in the homes of fellow Rotarians in Vero Beach and in other cities across the country.

Rotary International, a organization committed to community and international service, has more than 2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide.

Rotarians Barry Picken, United Kingdom, Jan Lentvaar, Netherlands, Frank Ehlers, Germany, Jobst Isbary, Germany, Stella Dongo, Zimbabwe received a proclamation of welcome from the Vero Beach City Council.

Rotarians Barry Picken of the United Kingdom, Jan Leentvaar of the Netherlands, Frank Ehlers and Jobst Isbary of Germany and Stella Dongo of Zimbabwe received a proclamation of welcome from the Vero Beach City Council.  Councilwoman Tracy Carroll, far left, is an active Rotarian.

More…

Opinion – Moving substation may not be best deal for city taxpayers 1

The current substation located at the west of the power plant is set to be relocated to the former postal annex site, which will be deeded to Florida Power & Light.

The current substation located at the west of the power plant is set to be relocated to the former postal annex site, which will be deeded to Florida Power & Light.

BY MARK SCHUMANN

Just who is behind the push to relocate the substation as a part of the sale of Vero Electric, even at a cost of some $8 million or more to city residents and taxpayers?

Listing to public statements made by Council members Tracy Carroll, Craig Fletcher and Pilar Turner, one gets the idea the Council formally decided that the deal to sell the power system mush include clearing off, not only the power plant, but also the substation now located on the western portion of the 17.2 acre site. More…

Guest Column – Why hold referendum on selling Vero Electric to FPL before questions are answered and issues resolved? 8

BY KEN DAIGE

Ken Daige

Ken Daige

For at least four years the public has been bombarded with rabblerousing rhetoric inflaming the public view of the Vero Beach Electric issue.

The public has been saturated with propaganda spread through the various services clubs, charities, newspaper opinions and editorials, radio personalities, email newsletters and FP&L open house and mailers.

We were told all negotiations would take place in the public view. More…

City Council votes to leave Seven50 regional planning project 2

Opponents of the city's involvement in the Seven50 regional planning initiative began filling the Council chambers 30 minutes before the start of Tuesday's Council meeting.

Opponents of the city’s involvement in the Seven50 regional planning initiative began filling the Council chambers 30 minutes before the start of Tuesday’s Council meeting.

IV.010913.Seven50.2By a vote of 4-1, the Vero Beach City Council Tuesday followed the lead of the Indian River County Commission, which decided by the same margin last month to end its participation in a regional, long-term planning effort known as Seven50.

Headed by the Southeast Florida Regional Planning Partnership, Seven50 ‘s consortium of 200 participants, including city and county governments, colleges and universities, school boards, and businesses, are now 18 months into the three-year project. More…