Editor’s note: Richard Winger is a member of the Vero Beach City Council. Today, he issued the following statement calling on Vero Beach residents to follow closely development at City Hall and to let their opinions be known.
On Tuesday, May 16 there will be two council meetings: The first at 9:30am is a Special Call. We are expecting FP&L to present a “Letter of Intent.” The second at 6:00pm is a regularly scheduled City of Vero Beach Council meeting and is scheduled to deal with tearing down “Big Blue.” Both meetings will be held in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
I believe you all know I have been working towards a full sale of the City’s electric utility and I remain committed to it. The 9:30 meeting is very important to that end. Our prior effort to sell came from a Letter of Intent presented by FP&L in May 2011. It was merely accepted, not vetted, and 6 years and millions of ratepayer-dollars later, the sale could not be completed as written and the contract was allowed to expire by the current Council and Mayor December 31, 2016.
If we are going to finally complete this sale we must not repeat past mistakes. We must vet the details of any written document requiring signatures by both parties and we must keep the public informed. Because they have muzzled me as a City Council member, I am not allowed to comment further, so I am sharing a Press Journal editorial which is a must read. http://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/editorials/2017/04/27/our-view-thoroughly-review-proposed-purchase-fpl/100982566/ The sale of the Electric Utility is the biggest financial event the City of Vero Beach has ever, or will ever, go through and you are the owner. A price must be fair to protect the future of our City.
The future of the power plant site is equally critical because it is perhaps the most valuable site in the City and you are the owner. You need to be involved because this asset has generated great interest due to its’ prime location and decisions will be made. These decisions need to be representative of the people’s vision, not those of a select few.
The 6:00 p.m. Council Meeting will bring some encouraging information about the value of removing “Big Blue”, reducing burdens related to noticing zoning changes and removing financial restraints monitoring heights on new construction. I mention the Council agenda items in a positive way because I know, more than anyone, that current Council meetings have not been pleasant. Yet, we need you, the voters, to monitor these meetings and hold elected Council members responsible to act in the City’s best interests. I take my own responsibility as your elected Council Member very seriously, and that is I why I am writing you. The City is at a critical point in time. Be alert, be informed, and do not hesitate to add your voice to current events. Please share this information with your friends and neighbors. Forward this email to everyone you know around town. A country friend of mine once said, “If you snooze, you lose.” We don’t want this to happen.