Vero City Council set for marathon session

VERO BEACH — With the pressure on to make headway on all their campaign promises, the new Vero Beach City Council has piled an enormous amount on its plate for Tuesday night’s meeting — including some leftovers courtesy of Councilman Brian Heady.Heady has requested 12 items be discussed in “New Business,” including the Orlando Utilities Commission contract, pension plans, advisory committees, the old Dodgertown golf course, Florida Power and Light progress, financial analysis and the 2011-2012 budget.The other four council members placed a total of 10 items on the agenda and provided at least a backup memo for each item. Despite being told several times that agenda items require some form of backup, Heady still refuses to provide any backup for his agenda items. This omission was used by former Mayor Kevin Sawnick to remove his items again and again. Political insiders will be watching the fledgling Mayor Jay Kramer and his cohorts to see whether or not they allow Heady’s items to be heard and, if so, how much time he allows Heady to take for discussion of each item.If the organizational meeting of the new City Council is any indication, Heady will be allowed to have his say and to engage members of the public in direct debate on agenda items.Items placed on the agenda by the other members of council include a request for the establishment of a Youth Advisory Board, an up-down vote on the sale of the electric utility to FP&L and an inquiry into invoices and fees paid to Boston utility consultant Sue Hersey. The council is also requesting various things of the city staff, including a 10-year pro forma analysis of the water-sewer systems, quarterly financial analysis, monthly financial reports and a report on the condition of the generators at the Vero Beach Power Plant.Mayor Jay Kramer has requested an item which might raise some controversy — he’s brought up the idea that the city Electric Utility staff might be given the chance to compile and submit a competitive bid to compete with the low rates offered to FPL customers. Critics of the electric utility say that this would be impossible. Both Dr. Stephen Faherty and CPA Glenn Heran have said publicly that, with the city’s current budget, fixed costs and the practice of transferring nearly $8 million directly and indirectly to the General Fund, the city would have to “get the power for free” in order to come anywhere near FP&L rates.Those in opposition to the sale to FP&L point out that, first of all, FP&L has not yet determined whether it is interested in buying and, secondly, there has been no promise that the City of Vero Beach customers would be charged FP&L retail rates enjoyed by its other customers. Both sides agree that rates would be under the purview of the Florida Public Service Commission and fairness would dictate how much profit FP&L could make on its purchase of the system.Other items on the agenda are the Interim City Manager position, pain clinics and appointments to various committees and boards.The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will be held in Council Chambers at Vero Beach City Hall. The proceedings will be televised live on Comcast Channel 13.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment