“The future of our city is at risk!”
The contract for the sale of the electric system is signed.
Let us all pray the full sale will be accomplished, this time!
What is critical now is the City being served by Council members who are knowledgeable, who will work together, and who will focus on the huge post-sale financial challenges.
Think back to the prior Councils and the work that we accomplished: modernized and restructured the City, its Finances, its Pension, its Fixed Assets/Parks, and its Management. That was important to secure the City’s future.
By sharp contrast, the current Council majority tossed out the long-term financial planning, silenced Finance and Utility advisory commissions, and demonized the Planning and Zoning Board for their honest hard work. They have done absolutely nothing constructive, beyond the Electric Sale, and that contract was only signed recently. What did they do all year long?
The Council majority has been Howle, Sykes and Moss. They determined our course, and it is no accident we have been labelled the do-nothing Council. I used to work at least 10 hours preparing for the next Council meeting. With this Council majority, the preparation time is down to 10 minutes, because there is nothing to prepare for. And note:
- The storm water run-off into the Lagoon was not fixed despite their many promises,
- Their budget left an $8.5 million deficit for the next 5 years,
- The problems at the Marina were neglected.
For eleven months Howle and Sykes sat in their seats bowing to the self-proclaimed “queen,” who enjoyed giving long, laudatory speeches about herself. They insulted other members of the Council and the public. They demanded civility from the public, but did not conduct themselves in a civil manner.
I cannot support anyone whose campaign is supported by the Political Action Committee, “Clean Sweep for a Brighter Tomorrow“. It is primarily funded by people and businesses (FPL) who don’t live here, and have little to no interest in our City’s future. The other four candidates do seem to care about the City, and seem willing to roll up their sleeves and go to work for us. Two of them stand out.
Jay Kramer and Randy Old have the Financial Experience now lacking from the current Council majority. That experience will be critical to pick up the pieces after the potentially devastating 24% annual ($5,400,000) revenue loss after the Electric Sale.
You have always told us the quality of life we have is important: Our Police, Parks, Airport, Recreation, Marina, etc. It is important that we do not lose services and we must keep taxes low.
To that end, we should not be deficit spending. We cannot afford to kick the can down the road. The current Council majority is already doing that with the $8.5 million I mentioned above. Will they just spend the cash from the Electric Sale and leave the City in the hole, or will it be wisely invested or used to prefund existing obligations?
Voters, please understand which people look out for our future, and which people look out for outside interests. It is easy to tell. Just look at all those glossy postcards, smearing other candidates and paid for by the outsiders that are filling up our mailboxes every day.
The future of our City is at risk! Vote for those with experience and civility. Vote against the use of smear tactics. That is not Vero Beach!
Your vote is critical to that future.
Editor’s note: Richard Winger is a member of the Vero Beach City Council.