There will soon be three new faces on the the Vero Beach City Council. Laura Moss, Lange Sykes and Tony Young won today’s municipal election over Randy Old, Sharon Gorry and Norman Wells. Moss, Sykes and Young will join sitting council members Harry Howle and Richard Winger.
Sykes edged out incumbent Randy Old by just 48 votes, in a tightly-contensted and expense race. Moss, Sykes and Wells were all supported heavily by Indian River Shores residents and by a political action committee, Flip the Switch for a Brighter Further, funded by Shores residents and by Florida Power and Light. Between contributions made directly to Moss, Sykes and Wells, and to the PAC, Shores residents and FPL invested some $160,000 in what turned out to be a successful bid to elect to Vero Beach’s City Council candidates who would support the Shores and FPL in their negotiations with Vero Beach. Moss and Sykes will now going Harry Howle in a three-person majority likely to approve the partial sale.
The Shores and FPL want Vero Beach to sell its electric customers within the Town for $30 million. Old, Young and Gorry all pledged to support a sale, but at a higher price. They contended the City needed to heed the advice of a team of five utility experts who concluded partitioning and downsizing Vero Electric for anything less than $47 million would lead to higher rates for the remaining customers.
With more than $160,00 to work with, the Moos, Sykes and Wells campaigns, along with the Shores-FPL funded PAC flooded local media and mail boxes with ads attaching Old, while promising to sell the electric system to FPL. In the end, the outside money proved insurmountable, as Old lost to Sykes by 48 votes.
Like Howle before them, Moss and Sykes made as their central campaign theme their promise to find a way to conclude the sale of Vero Electric to FPL. How they will accomplish that is not at all clear. The sale is stalled because of so-far insurmountable contract hurdles.