Howle and Zudans would eviscerate the City of Vero Beach

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…


  1. And I suppose attempting to extend the council members’ terms to 3 yrs would put us ‘in line’ with county until it can swallow up city? And the 3-yr terms would make it possible for big contributors having to put up their huge sums fewer times to get their in-pocket candidates into office again.

  2. If I were running for city council against Howle and Zudans, my motto would be SAVE VERO BEACH. The city is truly worth saving. In my opinion, every candidate should be asked if they intend to sell any existing city enterprise.

  3. Perhaps people need a history lesson here, in 2011 the pro sale Council passed an initial tax increase of 38% (the maximum allowed amount), at the same time the pro sale Council invited the County into talks about selling the Cities water and sewer system to them in exchange for taking on the existing debt of the Cities systems, basically giving away the system. The 38% tax increase was basically there to cover the loss of the transfer from water and sewer. The supposedly conservative Council members that were pushing for this was Pilar Turner, Tracy Carroll and Craig Fletcher, although Mr. Fletcher later didn’t go through with it. I have to thank him for that. When these candidates were running they were only for the sale of the electric system and pushed their conservatism and financial talents to the public, however their priority was raising taxes and selling water and sewer, and later conversations about selling the cemetery, single week garbage pickup, selling off the marina along with the dog park, major cuts to recreation and merging police dispatch with the County. This is factual that many of the Cities services have been up for sale, you can simply check the agendas and verify yourself. Today these two candidates are supported by the same people got the original pro sale group in, nothing really has changed, the County still wants our system and will put anyone in there to get it. However one thing of note, this year the County could not count to three, they need both Harry and Val to be elected to take the water and sewer system.

  4. As a side comment Val wrote in the April 13th 32963 magazine, page 50 “City Government should not be in the sewer and water business if the county can do it better at a lower cost.” Perhaps Val didn’t know that when the City gave County water and sewer rates to the County residences and the City actually made more money, meaning the City is lower in cost. And as for better, over 80% of the boil water notices are in the County, the Spoonbill marsh project lost its permit, and the Counties system is still losing money.

  5. I’m sure you will not approve this, but you should know people rolled their eyes that this came from you. “Isn’t he from a publishing family, one said.”

  6. As intended, the link is to the remainder of Larry Reisman’s article on the County’s challenges in accomplishing timely debris removal. The point, of course, is that despite what some might claim Country government is not perfect.

  7. Watched the council meeting tonight and here are some thoughts. I concluded from the meeting that
    at least one presenter stated he lived in Vero when ,in fact, I believe he does not live in the city. If I am wrong I stand to be corrected. Each of the presenters made very craftily constructed arguments ,which cast lots of doubt on their conclusions and motives. While they are against the Vero council, because they oppose any governments running a business ; they had no problem with the county government running our Water & Sewer, which the last time I checked, is a government and a very big and costly one. I see this as the first step in the dis-incorporation of the city. They can deny all they want, but their words ring hollow.

    If I recall correctly these two gentlemen were way off in their analysis of how much money COVB would derive from the sale of Vero Electric,and if I recall they were off by several millions of dollars.
    I though Laura Moss did a great job in laying out some facts;others were not up to her logic and forceful presentation.

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