“A year ago, Barefoot claimed $13 million was an exceedingly fair price. Now the offer is up to $30 million. So what was he trying to do back in Aug., 2015, shaft the people of Vero Beach?”
Despite the efforts of Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot and a handful of Shores residents who are trying to poison politics in neighboring Vero Beach, I remain convinced the vast majority of Shores residents are decent and fair minded. Sure, they want lower electric rates, but they are not willing to pillage their neighbors just to save on power bills.
A little more than a year ago, Barefoot was pressing Vero Beach leaders to accept FPL’s offer of $13 million for the City’s Shores customer base. “A few hours after news broke that Florida Power and Light had sent a formal proposal to the City of Vero Beach offering $13 million to purchase the portion of Vero’s electric system and customers within the Town of Indian River Shores, Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot reached out to Vero officials in hopes a deal could be made,” read an Aug. 13, 2015 report by the island weekly.
Barefoot has led a more than year-long effort, at a cost of some $1 million to Shores residents, to force Vero Beach to abandon its Shores customers. Ignoring facts and making up some of his own, Barefoot went before the Florida Public Service Commission to claim Vero Beach’s rates are unreasonable and are the natural consequence of allowing Vero Electric to operate as an “unregulated monopoly.” With a straight face, Barefoot told the PSC Vero Electric’s rates, which are lower than rates approved by the PSC for several of the state’s investor owned utilities, are oppressive. Barefoot also regularly discounts the fact that the Shores has two representatives on the Vero Beach Utilities Commission.
Though still far short of what would be needed to avoid higher rates and higher taxes for the residents of Vero Beach and the remaining customers of Vero Electric, FPL is now offering $30 million for Vero Electric’s Shores customers, with $3 million to be paid by the Shores. A year ago, Barefoot claimed $13 million was an exceedingly fair price. Now the offer is up to $30 million. So, what was he trying to do back in Aug., 2015, shaft the people of Vero Beach?
Seeking to stiff his neighbors to the south is exactly what Barefoot was up to last year, and it’s what he is trying to do now, as he encourages Shores residents to give generously to the campaigns of three Vero Beach City Council candidates seemingly hand picked by the Shores to do the Town’s bidding on the Vero Beach City Council.