“Beware! Trusting Heran and Faherty now would amount to a triumph of wishful thinking over reason and experience.”
Local “utility activists” Glenn Heran and Steven Faherty have begun a push to persuade Vero Beach leaders to sell the City’s water and sewer utility to the County, and to turn over solid waste services to a private operator.
Anyone interested in securing a solid financial base for the City following the pending sale of Vero Electric should look with a skeptical eye on the supposed benefits Heran and Faherty are claiming for their agenda. Certainly they have been wrong before.
Ten years ago, in building initial public enthusiasm for selling Vero Electric, Heran and Faherty made presentations throughout the community claiming the sale would net the City some $156.5 million. Interest earnings on the invested money, they claimed, could be used to make up for the loss of some $5 million in utility revenue transferred annually to the General Fund to help pay for municipal services.
Heran and Faherty assured an largely unquestioning public that the sale of Vero Electric would not lead to cuts in municipal services or to increases in taxes. Quite simply, the were wrong. With the sale of Vero electric pending, City officials are facing serious challenges in continuing to fund City operations without greatly increasing taxes, and/or cutting services.
Having helped put the City in its current financial fix, now come Heran and Faherty arguing that the City should sell its remaining enterprise funds. These two so-called utility activists deny any interest in forcing the City into disincorporation. Beware! Trusting Heran and Faherty now would amount to a triumph of wishful thinking over reason and experience.
On October 29, 2009, Faherty wrote then City Council candidate Ken Daige, “Ken, Attached is a summary of what Glenn’s financial model can do. It shows no City tax increase, a possible tax decrease, and $625 in each customer’s pocket. Also attached are legislative proposals. Good Luck. Glenn and I look forward to working with you.” Below is the document Faherty and Heran distributed at the time.
Note: Faherty and Heran projected that the net proceeds from the sale of Vero Electric would be some $156.5 million. As the dust settles on the pending deal, the City will be left with perhaps $20 million to $30 million, not $156.5 million. Investment earnings on these proceeds will not begin to make up for the loss of electric utility revenue. And so the City leaders must cut services, raise taxes, and/or raise cash by selling off still more public assets, such as the water and sewer system, which, like the electric utility, helps the City afford vital municipal services.