“At a community meeting held in the Shores last month, Town Mayor Brian Barefoot introduced Moss, Sykes and Wells as supporting the Shores in its stand-off with the City of Vero Beach.”
In addition to the $20,000 Indian River Shores residents have given directly to Vero Beach City Council candidates Laura Moss, Lange Sykes and Normal Wells, Shores residents, with assistance from Florida Power and Light, have raised an additional $56,749 to fund a political action committee named, “Clean Sweep For A Brighter Future.”
According to documents filed with the Florida Department of State, the chairman of the FPL-funded PAC is Dan Stump, of 615 Camelia Lane. Reports filed with the Department of State reveal that Stump has not contributed to the PAC he is heading, though the PAC has received 37 contributions from Shores residents totaling $36,749. The largest individual contribution, $3,000, was made by Eric Billings of 800 Beach Road, Apt. 306.
FPL contributed $20,000 to the PAC supporting what Town Mayor Brian Barefoot described as “the Shores Team.”
At a community meeting held in the Shores last month, Town Mayor Brian Barefoot introduced Moss, Sykes and Wells as supporting the Shores in its stand-off with the City of Vero Beach. Barefoot encouraged Shores residents to support the three because, he said, they could be counted on to side with the Shores in its dispute with Vero Beach over Vero Electric’s service to Town residents.
Having spent some $1 million is a legal battle that has dragged on more than a year and has not gone well for the Shores, Barefoot and other Town leaders have asked Vero Beach to sell its Shores customer base and related infrastructure to FPL. FPL first offered $13 million, then $30 million, with $3 million of that to be paid by the Shores. A team of five utility experts hired by the City determined it would take $47 million to partition and down-size Vero Electric without the move leading to higher electric rates and higher taxes for the remaining customers of Vero Electric and for the resident of Vero Beach.
The Vero Beach City Council voted in September to let Shores leaders and FPL officials know the City would entertain a sale a $47 million. Councilman Randy Old, who is running for re-election, has said he believes it would be a violation of his fiduciary responsibility to the people of Vero Beach to agree to carve up Vero Electric for $17 million less than experts have said would be necessary to avoid negatively impacting residents and customers outside the Shores.
The most resent setback for the Shores came with the Florida Public Service Commission affirmed Vero Beach right and continuing responsibility to serve within the Town. That decision can be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, an option Town leaders have indicated they are considering. The prospect of a successful appeal do not seem good, though, given the Indian River County Commission lost a similar appeal last year.
At present, Barefoot and other Shores leaders seem focused on electing a Shores slate of three candidates to the Vero Beach City Council. An addition to Moss, Sykes and Wells, there are three other candidates in the six candidate field. Sharon Gorry, Old, and Tony Young have all said they support continuing to find ways to sell the full electric system to FPL. They have also said they will support a partial sale of the Shores customer base for $47 million.