In the past, Vero Communiqué has submitted questions to candidates running for local offices, such as Vero Beach City Council and the Indian River County Hospital District. Once again, we have submitted ten questions to the six candidates running for Vero Beach City Council. All candidates agreed to participate, except Jay Kramer, who indicated he “had not decided” to do so. We are pleased to share answers from the other five candidates to our ten questions.
1a. The sale of the Vero Beach electric utility to Florida Power and Light is top of mind. Are you for the full sale and under what circumstances? Also, would you support a partial sale if the total sale does not go through?
“In favor of a full sale. Would not support partial.”
1b. Do you believe a partial sale would result in the South Beach and other customers subsidizing Indian River Shores customers?
“Probably yes. Have not seen the evidence to the contrary.”
2. In order to sell the Vero Beach electric utility, Vero Beach would have to exit its’ contract the Florida Municipal Power Agency. All of the remaining 19 cities would have to agree to allow Vero Beach to exit. Do you think all 19 members would allow Vero Beach to do so?
“I absolutely do not think all 19 will agree!”
3. From 2010 to 2016 the Vero Beach City Council budgeted $ 3,639,660 for various storm water projects and expended $ 2,683,239, a $ 956,421 short fall. According to a 12/11/15 article in Florida Today, Jim Waymer wrote that “Storm water is the No. 1 problem” facing the Indian River Lagoon. While Brevard County, FL residents voted overwhelmingly for a half-cent sales tax to fund Indian River Lagoon clean-up projects, the Vero Beach City Council voted not to give any further consideration on charging City residents a $ 5.00 monthly fee to protect the Lagoon. Should this $ 5.00 fee be reconsidered and if not, why not? If reconsideration resulted in enacting the fee, what projects do you feel should be undertaken?
“No to any new level of government and yes to funding what it costs to halt the dumping of storm water into the Lagoon.”
4a. What is your position on the Comprehensive Land Use 2035 POLICY Plan?
“All changes to the existing should be debated, changed as needed and then voted on.”
4b. And what is your position on the role of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council in our City planning?
“They can present anything to the council for the council’s consideration and decision. Council decides.”
5. Inspired by Coral Gables, FL becoming the first city in Florida to ban the use of single use carry out plastic bags by retailers, there is a movement afoot to ban plastic bags in Vero Beach’s 32960 and 32963 zip codes. The goal of the movement is to get enough signatures of support to bring a proposal before the Vero Beach City Council to have the Council follow along and adopt Coral Gables’ ban. Would you support such a ban and why?
“No. plastic bags should be recycled. We do in our home.”
6. At a recent South Beach Property Owners Eminent Speakers Series Vero Beach Mayor Laura Moss suggested that Indian River County’s South Beach property owners enter into a conversation as to whether they should be annexed by Vero Beach. Should they desire to be annexed, do you support having the City Council enact an ordinance to annex South Beach, which would lead to two public meetings, followed by a vote of the registered electors of the annexed property?
“If they want to be a part, absolutely. Welcome aboard.”
7. In the late 1970’s the City of Vero Beach enacted an ordinance outlawing vacation rentals for less than 30 days. In the last legislative session Florida State Representative Mike Larose and State Senator Greg Steube introduced companion bills that “A local law, ordinance or regulation may not …prohibit…vacation rentals.” Originally, the bills “did not apply to any local law, ordinance or regulation adopted on or before June 1, 2011.” However, Senator Steube subsequently filed an amendment to his bill that would delete the June 1, 2011 provision except to extent the rental is offered by a “person who is currently serving on active duty in a branch of the United States Armed Forces or owned by a disabled veteran with a service-connected evaluation of such disability of 30% or more, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.” It is likely that Representative Larose and Senator Steube will be back with similar companion bills, that if passed, would nullify Vero Beach’s 30-day rental ordinance except to the to the extent of the exception above, which would place the City in a position to monitor who or who doesn’t fall into that category. Are you aware of this threat and what action should the City Council be taking to address it?
“No to fully aware, and this should be a local decision not one mandated by Tallahassee.”
8. Once Vero Beach’s Big Blue power station is removed, what would you like to see the City do with that property? I would not remove it.
“I would offer it up to developers as is and ask them to submit their offers and development ideas.”
9. What would you propose to improve the parking in Vero Beach, particularly on the Island in the proximity of Ocean Drive? Are you in favor or metered parking?
“No to metered parking.”
10. If Vero Beach Mayor Laura Moss were to run for reelection, would you support her?