Indian River Shores not ready to put Vero Beach on notice for water-sewer

INDIAN RIVER SHORES – The Indian River Shores Town Council decided Thursday it needs more information before deciding the future of its water-sewer service.

Councilman Mike Ochsner recommended the council put the City of Vero Beach on notice that the town would not renew its 30-year water-sewer franchise agreement, which expires November 2016.

His fellow council members rejected the suggestion, including Councilman Dick Haverland, who said he needed more information prior to making a final decision.


Indian River Shores Mayor Tom Cadden cautioned the council that the current franchise agreement with Vero Beach might not be an ironclad document and the matter could end up in a “big lawsuit.”

Cadden proposed that the town council bring in GAI Consultants, which has already been paid $20,000 to work on the water-sewer issue and to meet with the council members individually to explore the town’s options.

The council decided to schedule a workshop to have GAI address the council’s questions publicly so that council members could hear the same information at the same time and learn from each other’s questions.

Vero Beach’s city council is set to consider a revised franchise agreement with Indian River Shores May 17.

The Indian River Shores Town Council directed Town Manager Richard Jefferson to obtain a formal written contract proposal from Indian River County so the council could compare it with the City of Vero Beach’s proposal.

Indian River County Utilities Director Erik Olson made a presentation to the council Thursday, giving the members a run-down of what the county is currently proposing in terms of water-sewer service for the town.

The proposal consists of providing water, wastewater and reuse water to the town beginning in 2016 at county rates. Those rates, however, would include a standard 6 percent rate equalization charge, which the county charged the City of Sebastian when it took over the city’s water system.

The council has tentatively scheduled a workshop for 1:30 p.m. May 25 with the hope of having both proposals by then.

“I want to have something in my hand,” said Councilwoman Frannie Atchison, adding that she wouldn’t know what to ask of GAI at this point.

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