Rushing to jump off the cliff (again) without a parachute

COMMENTARY

RICHARD WINGER 

Richard Winger

Stay tuned, people of Vero Beach!

In 2008 Vero Beach City Council rushed to sign a costly power supply contract with OUC (Orlando Utilities Commission).

Apparently Council never saw the actual Final Document, but signed it anyway.  Result, HIGH AND ENDURING POWER COSTS.

In 2012, a Council majority rushed to sign a contract with Florida Power and Light, a contract with elements received after it was signed. It could not be executed due to pre-existing obligations that were understood when it was signed.  Result, the current Mayor and Council let it lapse last December, despite the public will that the Utility be sold and despite spending $1,700,000 of your money with lawyers.

It cost the City of Vero Beach and ratepayers huge amounts of money for Council to sign those contracts without proper and thorough vetting.  And rates remained too high for too long.

With the new contract coming TOMORROW we should be doing due diligence. For starters, the Finance Commission needs to look at this in an open and transparent public meeting with you there. We need to know what we are signing.

I fail to understand the rush…..

Especially because the Contract was due at City Hall by noon, Wednesday, October 18th,  but parts of it were still arriving today, Monday October 23rd and apparently there are elements still missing as of this writing.

I am asked to review three inches of highly technical documents from Friday noon in advance of a 9:30 meeting tomorrow Tuesday.

Yet, a Council majority whose election campaigns received huge monetary support by  FP&L is insistent upon signing the Contract Tuesday, October 24th.

Rush to sign and rush to waste our money. This is a very bad pattern of behavior.

We are supposed to learn by past mistakes, and I fear we may be on the verge of repeating the same past mistakes. Falling off Cliffs on purpose!

I will do my best for you, but I fear it will not be good enough, and once again you will PAY, PAY, PAY!

Voters be alert.  Your City, your taxes, this special place where we live is on the line.

Editor’s note: Richard Winger is a member of the Vero Beach City Council.

2 comments

  1. If the contract is satisfactory, it should be signed after due diligence. If it is NOT satisfactory, then it must be changed. The only one, seems like, who’ll do ok is FPL. If we sign the agreement, they have one heck of a fine addition to their customer list. If we find fault with it, FPL (if it is true there is a clause in the contract) does not go away empty-handed but rather with the Indian River Shores customers for $30 million–$18 million less than needed, per COVB. What a prize!

  2. They actually voted for the contract without reading it. The City Attorney didn’t read it. He admitted as such in a disclaimer to Council.

    Bits and pieces of the 500-page contract were still dribbling in over the weekend. You coudn’t have read it if you wanted to.

    Among all the self-congratulatory remarks there were paintive, sometimes apologetic appeals for caution.

    We learned the Partial Sale was put into the deal at the insistence of FPL at the get-go–intended as a “Poison Pill.”

    Having agreed enthusiastically to the poison pill, Team Councilmen better be saying their prayers every night that all 19 FMPA votes are “Aye,” with some of the 19 going against the interests of their own constituency in doing so.

    Otherwise Council has signed the remaining ratepayers up for a poison pill in 2019.

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