Vero, Shores may put 2 utility disputes on hold

VERO BEACH — Indian River Shores and Vero Beach tentatively agreed to put two disputes over Vero’s electric utility on hold as a third conflict at the Florida Public Service Commission inches forward.

The parties met for 15 minutes Thursday as part of a state-mandated conflict resolution process aimed at ironing out a legal disagreement over whether or not Indian River Shores has the power to regulate Vero’s electric rates after a 30-year franchise agreement expires on Nov. 6. The Shores passed an ordinance last year giving itself that authority.

Under the agreement sketched out Thursday, the Shores would postpone implementing the ordinance, and would afford Vero up to one year’s notice should the Town intend on implementing the rate control.

The negotiating teams also tentatively agreed to place a civil lawsuit, also disputing Vero’s electric rates, in abatement while the parties await the outcome of a complaint filed in Tallahassee for the PSC to review and open up the service territory that Vero claims is permanently its own.

Shores Town Manager Robbie Stabe and Vero City Manager Jim O’Connor will now take the proposal back to their respective elected bodies for approval, Vero on May 17 and the Shores on May 25.

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