The first meeting of the newly elected City Council was held on the 22nd of November.
The first item on the agenda was the sale of the Indian River Shores portion of Vero Electric to Florida Power and Light, as part one of the plan to sell all of Vero Electric. Representatives from Indian River Shores and Florida Power and Light were asked to describe the transactions, many citizens of the county and the city spoke on the matter. By the end of the afternoon, the council voted first to undertake a partial sale as part of a plan to sell all of Vero Electric, second to invite Florida Power and Light to submit a non-binding memorandum of understanding outlining the terms and conditions of their proposed purchase and third to dismiss the City’s utility lawyer Schef Wright.
The room was full, and the debate wide-ranging, but it was a forgone conclusion that an immediate sale would receive support from the new council.
What was obvious in the room was an excitement that a sale was going to happen as the new council had the votes to carry the decision. Missing was the council’s initiative to investigate the transaction in detail, to understand how it would affect rates, ratepayers, the finances of the City, what are the limitations dictated by our bond covenants, and what can the city do with the proceeds of any partial sale?
Their offer was $30 million, our response earlier was $47 million. Should we just take their offer, should the city negotiate, or at least try.
This kind of rush to a conclusion is what has resulted in bad decisions before.