It’s Time For Some Chit Chat

Chit ChatLet’s get this straight. The City of Vero Beach, in its efforts to get lower wholesale electric rates, decided to look at other suppliers than Orlando Utilities Commission and all hell breaks loose. Yep, can you imagine….Vero puts their feelers out for a cheaper supplier in order to be able to lower rates to their customers and OUC goes ballistic on them? They threatened to sue Vero Beach if Vero chooses a different power supplier. Hmmm.

So what else is new – another lawsuit?
Sort of sounds to me like….If I owned a Chevy and wanted to find a car with better gas mileage and I began to shop around then if the Chevy dealer found out I was shopping around they would threaten to sue me if I found another car with better gas mileage.

So, now Vero is faced with three villains in the battle to wrest Vero Electric Utility away from the City – OUC, FPL and FMPA. And guess who will always be the fall guy in this battle of the giants for Vero’s Electric Utility? Yes, it will be the ratepayers. It looks like they will be paying high rates from now until doomsday in order to pay off the attorneys who will be enmeshed in this fight forever.

And, while all of this is going on, the elected officials sit in budget hearings and before these meetings are finalized we have already been informed that property taxes will be raised. The elected officials are telling everyone that they are experiencing a money problem and seem to be preparing everyone who will listen that a tax increase will be coming. In fact, a little birdie told me that there is already three votes to do this.
If a tax increase were coming for the sole purpose of lowering Electric rates well – that might be acceptable but….and I will leave that to your imagination.

Amelia Graves, Randy Old and Mayor Richard Winger will probably vote for a tax increase and Pilar Turner has always made noises that this is going to be necessary so, as in the whole battle for selling the Electric Utility, Jay Kramer, in my opinion, will again be the dissenting vote on this issue. Kramer wants to build this year’s budget on last year’s numbers and that seems to me to be going backwards rather than forward. If four out of five elected officials want to raise taxes in order to maintain the City of Vero Beach in the style its citizens are accustomed to then so be it. If Kramer dissents, it just might begin to look political. You know what I mean, do you think he says no to raise taxes because he is running for a seat on the County Commission?

Another curious thing happening is the fact that Mayor Winger wants to step down in August and as stated at the time of his becoming the Mayor he would concede his position of Mayor to Jay Kramer who is now the Vice Mayor. Hmmm.

Could it be that Kramer is being tested? As most of you know, Kramer has outside business interests and spends very little time in the area and maybe he is being tested to see if he will be able to stay in town long enough to serve as the Mayor. That would probably be a precursor for him being able to serve in the capacity of a Commissioner. Just saying.

  1. Cedric says:

    Bea, I do not know how much time Jay Kramer spends working on his business, but we must remember a few things (1) He does NOT need a governmental paycheck like certain elected and “would be” elected officials do (2) He is an effective member of the city council (3) He is not afraid to stand alone when necessary (4) He is NOT the much disliked Bob Salami.

  2. Bea-isms says:

    Cedric…..I agree with you that he has been a very effective City Councilman and he is definitely not afraid to stand alone when necessary as he see it and that proved to be true when it came to the sale of the Electric Utility.

    I go back to your number one point about the fact that he does not need a government paycheck. If you will recall, Bob Solari is worth millions and I guess he can claim that he does not need one either. Just saying.

  3. Cedric says:

    I was not referring to Salami; I was thinking of the bankrupt commissioner.

  4. Cedric II says:

    Although Salami had his family by him a citrus grove that he ran into bankruptcy.

  5. Bea-isms says:

    Oh, that guy. If he is the bankrupt commissioner does that make his wife the bankrupt candidate??? LOL

  6. jim says:

    I am amazed that there have been no fines for short term rentals, July 4 certainly showed us that it is still happening. I really on’t think that the 2 code enforcement officers care about pursuing it. Investigating cases of construction seem to excite them more, looking for unliscensed contrators, etc. Have any short term violators even been cited since the bit of lip service that this issue was give. A task force was considered and then dropped. What about boarding houses, wasn’t that an issue for 15 minutes.

  7. jim says:

    Are there any new names that may pop up for the council race. Mr. Winger may have done all the good he can, which has been vast. Perhaps two new faces. Amelia has been a steadying force and certainly been very polite and respectful towards citizens, which is a real breath of fresh air. I would love to see Eric Hessler jump into the mix, Linda Hilmann,I have always been a fan of, however,her handing over her P and Z chair to Ken Daige concerns me. Clearly Mr. Daige is positioning himself for another run. He can’t win. sorry. Peter Gorry, maybe. The lip service to the lagoon continues, but Code enforcment/police contiually overlook blatant disregard of the rules, particularly commercial property lawn debris using storm gutters used as grass disposals. The George Warren building being just one example. In Mcansch park many neighbors routinely blow all their cut grass the the gutters. Maybe education works,I haven’t found it to be true.

  8. Bea-isms says:

    If Linda Hillman handed over her P & Z chair to Ken Daige you can bet it was because she thought Ken to be more qualified than she. She is still at the learning stage and one other thing I might add, Hillman is probably still working and figured she would not have the time necessary to chair this commission. Of course Jim, this is my opinion as a response to your blog. Of this issue I am not informed.

    And, if Daige is positioning himself for another run…so what. I see nothing wrong with that if that were to be the case.

    Who would you pick between Ken Daige or Harry Howle? Just asking.

  9. Cedric says:

    I trust the judgement of Linda Hillman, so for what ever reason she gave up the P&Z chair must be based on good reasoning. Mr Howle’s run for office last year proved he was the pawn of outside money and influence.

  10. Bea-isms says:

    That is correct Cedric however, I think I read someplace that he intends to run again this year.

  11. Kilroy says:

    Linda Hillman is still on the P & Z Board, Ken Daige is an alternate member. Short term rental violations are still being written. Nothing can be done until the court case the city is involved in over the code being legal is decided by the court. A few renters that have multiple units (some 4 to 5 each on the beach) are suing the city.

  12. Bea-isms says:

    Hey, a new blogger called Cedric 11. It is definately a different e-mail address from Cedric 1 but my guess is they most probably see eye to eye on things which might answer for the similar name. Welcome Cedric 11.

    BTW. Jim, why did you say that Linda Hillman turned over the P&Z chair to Daige. My sources on a personals e mails tell me that is not true.

    There is a lot of fist to fry in this post and we should stick to the facts and truth as much as possible.

    With OUC firing a shot across the bough to the City….well, that is worth talking about. And, what about the budget shortfalls that will be handled by raising taxes. These are two things we should be blogging about. Just saying.

  13. jim says:

    Mr. Daige has been sitting in the chair that Linda had occupied. If I am mistaken, that is certainly good news. I still don’t understand how this board buisiness works and who is or is not on the boards. All I know is that since Mr. Daige was appointed, he has been on the dais and Linda has not. I stand happily corrected.

  14. jim says:

    Kilroy, thanks for the clarification. That being the case, once they have been cited once, Can they be cited again, or are they then able to continue the practice until said case is settled. And can someone else then sue on different grounds and hold up the works yet again.

  15. jim says:

    Bea, in response to your question, I would respond by saying that I would not vote for any of the former councilpersons who signed the OUC contract (without reading it) that started this financial drain on the city and its ratepayers,both from rates and legal expenses. For the same reason Brian Heady would not get my vote, since he Brought Igoe and Company to our

  16. Bea-isms says:

    Jim, you do make sense. It is very hard to remember every incident and facts that bring us to today’s reasoning.

  17. Cedric says:

    Cedric to Cedric 11 Could you expand on the bankruptcy comment you made about Bob Salami.

  18. Bea-isms says:

    Cedric one or two….You meant to say the Solari family bought him a citrus grove, (you used the word by instead of buy)and that he ran it into the ground.

    The way I think I understood it was that the family owned a citrus business and they asked Bob to come down from wherever he was living in the North to run the business and apparently he did not run the business very well and he had to go bankrupt. Thanks for jogging my memory on that one.

    So, that means we have two Commissioners with bankruptcy’s in their past – in fact more than two for the Zee man. I guess the voters don’t seem to realize that the main responsibility of these elected officials is to use their business saavy and manage the budget….about $170 Million is the budget for the County.

    So, we have two commissioners with proof that they are not very good at business,ie; bankruptcy’s, Salami and Zorc the Dork and that is the best we can do???

    Kramer is a proven business man and he could probably manage the County budget on one hand so I guess it will depend on who can get the word out best as to who is most qualified for the job.

  19. Cedric says:

    I was not aware of the Salami bankruptcy until Cedric 11 wrote about this very big revelation. I wonder where Cedric 11 dug this information up? It certainly puts Salami into a different light and not a very good one at that. Maybe he will not be so pompous now that this information is now made public.

  20. Bea-isms says:

    Cedric, I think Solari is completing his third term and that means that this information was probably out there over 12 years ago so….most people will not have heard this.

    BTW, if he wins another term that will make 16 years of the Salami and that might very well spell the end of any and all co-operation between our neighboring counties. Too bad for Indian River County if that happens.

  21. jim says:

    Pension secured. Nothing to lose. The good part is that he has apparently abandoned his quest to be the next state representative that doesn’t represent us. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

  22. Cedric says:

    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall….. and had a great fall. Bob the snob fell out of a orange tree and many of us laughed with glee. Why? Because it wiped out his self crafted image of being a wise financial expert. I guess he is not infallible as he would have us believe all these years.

  23. Bea-isms says:

    The Salami has never had any real competition since his win over Sandra Bowden. Hopefully Jay Kramer will be able to unseat him but just remember this, it is very hard to un-seat an incumbent…just saying.

  24. Cedric says:

    I think people are beginning to see thru his stale act. Not too many people speak highly of him. This is the result of his snobbish behavior. He has many negatives politically. Think Oslo Boat ramp and the lagoon.

  25. Bea-isms says:

    Oslo boat ramp, opting out of Lagoon Council are just two of the glaring things that should work against the Sausage but….He plays his Tea Party cards and his Taxpayer Association cards and his south beach bunch who will surely overlook his short term rental stance and he will probably sail right in again. That’s just the way it is. But, I agree with you. Glad he choose to NOT run for State rep. I think he weighed the odds and knew that Erin Grall would kick his butt in that race.

  26. jim says:

    On a different subject, specifically the old Osceola school site, which breezed through a rezoning discussion at the P and Z meeting.
    When I first heard of this site going to auction, I was elated that a property adjacent to a Motel would once again be on the tax roles. The land value alone would be a big help, but the potential property tax as a commercial site would be huge.

    When it went to auction, there were 2 bidders. One being a church, the other being the developer of the Motel to the immediate north. The Church got it.

    My questions: Being that the church now holds the property is it exempt from property taxes? Or are property taxes paid until it is actually a church?

    Can a church land bank and speculate property tax free, selling in the future, and reaping the profit, also tax free?

    Why would a church need that much land?

    Is there an agreement between the two bidders to do a deal later and avoid property tax.

    It concerns me that so much city land is held by churches, with no tax paid on parking lots, playgrounds, commercial kitches, and vacant land?

    Lets start there’ Any insight, folks?

  27. Cedric says:

    Bea, I disagree ,Bob the Snob is not as secure as you think. Many,many people do not like him.

  28. Bea-isms says:

    Cedric…I certainly hope you are right.

    It would be a great day if Bob the Snob and Zorc the Dork were to be beaten but, incumbents tend to have the edge.

    Having said that, I have heard, of late, that a lot of people will vote for anyone but an incumbent because they are getting so dissatisfied with government so that too should be considered.

  29. Bea-isms says:

    Jim, I am not ignoring you but I am thinking.

    Somewhere I think I heard that Vero Beach has about 40 percent of its land off the tax rolls – Churches, Schools, government buildings, parks, ball fields, etc.

    You might want to flush out that fact. It would be interesting to find out if this is true.

  30. jim says:

    I do not even have the resources or the time to find out who is on the boards.

    Add to that 40% the homes in the downtown area whose value minus exemptions don’t generate property tax and it is hard to understand how we are in the bottom 25% of cities millage wise. I’m fine with what I pay. I’m not complaining at all. Just making observations and trying to encourage conversation.

  31. Bea-isms says:

    You should be able to get a list of who is on the boards with a request from Tammy Vock. Just saying.

  32. jim says:

    Seems like that would be something that would be on the COVB site. The fact that it’s so covert is why the short term rental/ code enforcement board fiasco went down. Every time I watch a board meeting, I am left scratching my head. Clearly political. Board hopping should be frowned upon.

  33. jim says:

    Are alternates supposed to be involved if all regular members are at a particular meeting. And do they still sit on the dais and steer the discussion? Just wondering?

  34. Cedric says:

    Bob Solari is the most disingenuous public figure in Indian River County. He can never be trusted to speak the truth if it does not further his agenda.

  35. jim says:

    Cedric, the disingenuous public figure list does not begin and end with Solari.

  36. Linda Hillman says:

    Just for the record…I did NOT give up my seat on the P & Z Board….Mr. Daige was filling in for me while on vacation and also for a short stay in the hospital. I AM BACK !! Thanks to everyone for their concerns and great comments….your confidence in me makes me feel like I have been doing some things right…THANKS!!!!

  37. jim says:

    Awesome news.