Editor’s note: During last fall’s Vero Beach City Council campaign, then candidate Val Zudans dismissed as “fake news” reporting on his long term objectives of divesting the City of Vero Beach, not only of its electric utility, but of its other enterprise funds as well. As a member of the City Council, Zudans has now sponsored presentations on proposals to sell the City’s wanter and sewer utility to the County, and to lease the Municipal Marina. The article below was first published on October 7, 2017.
“With a 4-person anti-city City Council majority, the challenge will not be to ‘Keep Vero Vero,’ but simply to ‘Keep Vero.'”
If on Nov. 7 Vero Beach voters elect a Council majority determined to set in motion the eventual disincorporation of the City, it won’t be because they have beed duped. No, all the cards are on the table.
Candidates Harry Howle and Val Zudans, who seek to join Laura Moss and Lange Sykes in an insuppressible 4-person majority, have in the past made it crystal clear they want, not only to sell Vero Electric, but to divest the City of its other enterprise funds. If Howle and Zudans are elected, on the chopping block will be the water and sewer department, solid waste services, the marine, and possibly even the airport. The loss of all enterprise fund revenues will cripple the City, which is exactly what Howle and Zudans seek to do.
With a 4-person anti-city City Council majority, the challenge will not be to “Keep Vero Vero,” but simply to “Keep Vero.” Given that the power sale all but concluded, this year’s election is really not about who will provide Vero Beach with electric service. Rather, this election is about whether the people of Vero Beach want to continue to enjoy the benefits of an independent municipality. The alternative, of course, is to let the City be absorbed by Indian River County.
Are the people of Vero Beach really open to giving up their police department, their recreation programs, their well-maintained parks and guarded beaches? There is indeed a discernible difference in the level of services provided by the City and the County. This is what home rule is all about. A current example can be seen in the slowness with which the County is removing storm debris from the recent hurricane.
Press Journal columnist Larry Reisman recently wrote about delays in the County’s debris removal efforts: Continue reading…