Commissioner warns board Vero Council might not be cooperative

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — One commissioner took time Tuesday near the end of a board meeting to warn his fellow commissioners that the cooperative spirit held by one Vero Beach city councilman might not be held by all.

Commissioner Bob Solari told the commissioners that Councilman Brian Heady was scolded by his fellow council members on Jan. 19, during an evening council meeting held just hours after Heady had spoken before the county commission. “I’m not so sure that Councilman Heady’s cooperative attitude is shared by the rest of that council,” Solari said after playing a video clip from a Vero Beach City Council meeting from last month.

Councilman Heady had gone to the commission last month to address concerns he has over the possibility of the county getting involved in a potential lawsuit as well as state-proposed legislation that could wrest authority from the city over its electric utility.

Commissioner Solari said Tuesday that he believed Heady had come to the commission in an effort to retain local control of the Vero Beach Electric Utility and to work together with the county for a solution to electric rates.

Solari then played a short video clip from the Vero Beach City Council meeting following Heady’s visit to the county.

In the clip, Vero Beach City Councilman Tom White interrupted Heady as he was trying to explain his visit to the county commission and asked, “What’s the county got to do with this?”

White later said that the city is responsible for getting questions answered with regard to the electric utility. “They (the county) have nothing to do with what decisions we make here … how we’re going to handle the electric. This belongs to the citizens of the City of Vero Beach.”

White told Heady that he was permitted to visit other municipalities’ meetings as “Citizen Heady,” but that if he wanted to go as “Councilman Heady” that the appearance needed to be cleared by either the Vero council or the city manager.

Solari addressed White’s question about it being the county’s business, telling the commission that it is the county’s business because 51 percent of Vero Beach’s electric customers live outside the city in the unincorporated county. Another 10 percent of Vero Beach’s electric customers live in Indian River Shores.

“I think the county does have something to do with it,” he said.

Commissioner Peter O’Bryan also expressed appreciation of Councilman Heady’s visit to the commission and added that all municipal council members are welcome to come before the board.

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