To help Vero Beach voters more fully inform themselves about where the six city council candidates stand on the issues facing the City of Vero Beach, Inside Vero will publish a special print edition to be mailed to some 12,000 homes within the city in early October. All six candidates, (Sharon Gorry, Laura Moss, Randy Old, Lange Sykes, Norman Wells and Tony Young), have been invited to write guest commentary of up to 1000 words, and to submit answers to the questionnaire below.
This special print edition will include additional quest commentary, along with news analysis stories exploring the issues, challenges and opportunities facing the City of Vero Beach.
Following is the questionnaire submitted to the candidates.
Vero Beach City Council Candidate Questionnaire
1. What do you consider to be the three most important issues facing the City of Vero Beach? In some detail, please explain how you, as a member of the City Council, would address those issues?
2. What is your vision for the property currently occupied by the “Big Blue” power plant, the former postal annex, and eventually, the water treatment facility?
3. Are you in favor of eventually relocating the water treatment facility from its current site along the Lagoon to property adjacent to the airport? If so, what is your opinion on how this move should be funded?
4. Do you agree with the generally-held view that the hybrid septic system is the most cost effective way to reduce the level of pollutants entering the Indian River Lagoon? If so, how would you propose funding this system?
5. The current City Council has aggressively enforced the City’s ordinances prohibiting the operation of short term, so-called vacation rentals in residential areas. Would you continue this policy of enforcement, or would you take a different approach, and what is your view on short term rentals of less than 30 days? Do you believe they can be a detriment to neighborhoods, or do you see it otherwise?
6. What do you think the City of Vero Beach can and should do to stop All Aboard Florida, or to mitigate the impact of the trains, should they be approved?
7. Changes have already been approved to narrow the westbound twin pairs to make downtown more pedestrian friendly. What is your position on these proposed changes?
8. Apart from the electric issues, some have argued the City of Vero Beach should not continue to operate its other enterprise funds, such as the water and sewer utility, the solid waste utility and the marina. What is your view on the City’s ownership of these enterprise funds?
9. The proposed sale of Vero Electric has been a political issue for nearly a decade. With the Orlando Utility Commission’s having withdrawn from the deal, do you believe that the specific purchase and sale agreement between the City and Florida Power & Light signed in 2013 and approved by voters cannot now be executed? If you believe that agreement is still valid, please explain what you would do as a member of the Vero Beach City Council to see that the agreement is executed before it expires on Dec. 31, of this year?
10. If you believe the current agreement will expire Dec. 31, 2016 unexecuted, what steps do you think the City Council can take to get the sale back on track? Specifically, how would you see resolving the bond covenants, and contingent liability issues, and what qualifying entity do you think might be willing and able to take the OUC’s place in assuming Vero Beach’s position in the Florida Municipal Power Agency power support contracts, and power supply agreements? If you do not believe these issues can and should be resolved contractually, how would you see getting around them?
11. Regarding the proposed sale of Vero Electric’s customer base and electric utility infrastructure within the Town of Indian River Shores to FPL, do you agree with the City Council’s 3-2 decision not to accept FPL’s $30 million offer, but to instead agree to consider an offer at $47 million? If you would agree to this so-called partial sale for less than $47 million, how would you propose to protect the taxpayers of Vero Beach and the remaining customers of Vero Electric from paying higher taxes and electric rates as a result of the sale?