Electricity, redevelopment funding, education topics at legislative meeting

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Representatives from several local governing bodies will meet Tuesday morning with members of the Indian River County Legislative Delegation to discuss issues they want legislators to address during the next session.

Those issues are expected to include regulating Vero Beach’s electric utility, funding for Fellsmere’s and Sebastian’s redevelopment areas, and educational concerns. Florida Senators Joe Negron and Mike Haridopolos, along with Florida Representatives Ralph Poppell and Debbie Mayfield, will gather at Vero Beach City Hall at 9 a.m. The meeting is open to the public and public comment will be allowed.

Rep. Mayfield is expected to make a presentation on her proposed bill to bring the City of Vero Beach’s electric utility under the control of the Florida Public Service Commission. Mayfield has said her bill would ensure “that all citizens of both the City of Vero Beach and Indian River County are represented by an independent authority.”

Along the same line, outspoken Vero electric critics Dr. Stephen Faherty and Glenn Heran will be making a presentation to the legislative delegation. They will have three minutes each.

Also there to discuss the electric issue will be Barry Moline, the executive director of the Florida Municipal Electric Association.

Others who are expected to address the assembled legislative delegation are County Administrator Joe Baird, commissioners Peter O’Bryan and Bob Solari, and Supervisor of Elections Kay Clem.

Baird announced late last year that he would be asking the legislators to address the statutes pertaining to the funding of municipal redevelopment zones. As it stands, the state rules allow cities — in this case Fellsmere and Sebastian — to form redevelopment areas that require the county to pay into.

Baird would like to see the required amount be cut by 20 percent – from 95 percent of the tax revenue generated in the redevelopment area to 75 percent.

Both Fellsmere and Sebastian officials have said they disagree with the move. The City of Fellsmere was expected to send a letter to the legislators expressing its opposition to Baird’s request.

Other agencies are also scheduled to make 5-minute presentations to the delegation, including Indian River State College and St. Johns River Water Management District.

Community groups, too, will be allowed three minutes to address the legislators. Those groups and individuals include Cynthia Kolb, of Sebastian, the American Cancer Society, Equality Florida, Planned Parenthood, and the Indian River Juvenile Justice Council.

Those who wish to address the delegation may sign up to speak, though there will be a 3-minute time limit.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, in the Council Chambers of Vero Beach City Hall, 1053 20th Place, Vero Beach.

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