This is a classic example of the mafia selling protection to people who do not want their protection. They are forced to take it and pay for it.
That is just what is happening in Indian River.
The town of Indian River Shores wants to create their own municipal electric authority to establish home rule for their residents. This would allow them to decide who gets to provide electricity to town residents.
This is bad news for Vero Beach as this will end their racket of imposing taxes on Shores residents thru overly high electric rates which spill over to the Vero Beach city general fund. The Shores is gone sick of this scheme.
Unwilling to be solely at the mercy of the court or dependent on negotiations that appear to be at a standstill, the town now wants to establish its own electric-utility authority with the power to approve or reject rate increases.
Their suit against Vero Beach continues.
Its lawsuit against Vero Beach could be months away from a resolution. The town invokes home-rule authority, saying municipalities should decide electric-service providers for its own residents. But Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Cox still must rule on the Vero Beach’s motion to dismiss before the lawsuit proceeds.
If the town prevails, the city could be forced to sell its electric lines, poles and other assets to whichever franchise the town chooses, Vero Beach City Manager Jim O’Connor said.
A deal to sell the Shores portion off to FPL has stalled due to a $50 million dollar difference between Vero and FPL.
Shores residents had hoped FPL could buy the town’s portion of Vero Beach’s electric-service area. But negotiations ended this month almost as soon as they began, when Vero placed a $64.5 million value on the Shores system. The amount is what Vero says would cover the impact on remaining customers if the city lost its Shores customers. The amount is more than $50 million higher than the $13 million FPL offered the city.
“It’s difficult to understand how the city could suggest such an absurd value for what is just 8 percent of its entire system,” Barefoot said in a statement. He had urged city officials to take FPL’s offer, saying the $13 million would cover the city’s cost for about 70 years and end the town’s lawsuit against the city.
“It is clear from this counteroffer that the city has no intention of negotiating a sale of the system in our town, and it reveals their continuing belief that the city’s utility should have free reign to operate as an unregulated monopoly in our town with zero accountability,” Barefoot said in the statement.
Vero Beach is warning of retaliation should the Shores decide to stick up for their residents against this tax-funding rate scheme of Vero Beach.
Vero Beach City Manager Jim O’Connor said in a letter sent this week to Shores Town Manager Robbie Stabe a town utility authority would require additional infrastructure, expertise and staffing. The city also could impose a surcharge on town electric customers to recover costs from litigated rate cases or appeals resulting from the utility authority’s decisions.
“If the town pursues its efforts to regulate the city’s electric rates, the town and the city will be embroiled in many more years of litigation, resulting in extraordinarily wasteful costs being incurred both by the town and the city, quite likely with little or no change in the city’s rates,” O’Connor wrote.
Let’s hope those in Fort Pierce and outside the city limits share the same sentiment.
Click on the image and sign the petition now.