Vero mayor rebuffed in bid to spend thousands ‘educating’ ratepayers

By Mary Beth McDonaldVERO BEACH — Mayor Sabe Abell failed Tuesday in his bid to spend $4,000 out of the City’s electric fund to “educate” City and County ratepayers through a public relations campaign about the rates they are paying.”This is needed right now in order to dispel the rumors, lies and innuendo being passed around and printed in the press,” Abell said at the Tuesday Council meeting. “There are some groups of people who don’t know what they’re talking about. We need to get the truth out as I know it.” However, with incumbent Council members Debra Fromang and Bill Fish abstaining to avoid any appearance of electioneering with public funds so close to the Nov. 3 vote, the motion failed after Council member Kevin Sawnick voted against the expenditure. Abell and Vice Mayor Tom White were in favor the education campaign, but the motion needed three votes to pass.”I have to talk about our high rates all the time with people,” White said in casting his vote in the affirmative. “That’s all people want to talk about.”Sawnick objected to spending the the money on public relations when the City had other avenues to explain their position relating to the crushing utility bills ratepayers are enduring. He pointed to the City’s TV Channel and Web site and added there are several meetings open to the public where issues and ideas can be exchanged.

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