MARCO ISLAND — ‘Why should we buy’ nearly became ‘why should we bother’ at a meeting of the city’s committee charged with studying a potential takeover of Lee County Electric Cooperative by the City of Marco Island Wednesday.
“Are we doing our city a favor?” committee member Bob Brown asked his peers at the electric municipalization committee meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Committee members set out to get their motives back in focus.
“I think just based on the information uncovered to date this doesn’t make any sense,” said Alan Musico.
Larry Magel said putting electric lines underground would likely become a top reason for taking over LCEC since the electric provider's estimates were so high.
“Perhaps we should disband this committee temporarily until City Council provides us better defined goals,” Brown said.
The idea lost steam particularly as city staff liaison Tim Pinter presented the committee with a proposal by a consultant to assist the committee in gathering preliminary data for $4,700, a sharp decrease from the $100,000 estimate of a more thorough study by other consultants.
Bill Herrington of WHH Enterprises, based out of Howey-in-the-Hills, which is centrally located in the state within Lake County agreed to complete the following within two work days:
- Provide the data needed to accurately ascertain both the cost of system acquisition and on-going operating costs.
- Identify the benefits, obstacles and critical issues associated with public power.
- Identify the key factors that determine the cost of taking over the electric co-op and operating a utility. Assign city staff or committee members to obtain the necessary data.
- Perform preliminary mapping of distribution facilities including training a city staffer, likely Pinter, to complete the job.
- Inspect transmission facilities to determine the likely delivery point and point of ownership for the city electric system.
- Conduct an exit meeting with key project personnel, establishing completion dates on all assigned tasks.
- Prepare a summary report detailing the findings of the above efforts and identify the remaining unknown factors that have material impact on the feasibility of city takeover of the electric system.
-Provide firm prices for WHH Enterprises to complete the feasibility analysis.
The committee unanimously voted to recommend City Council approve the $4,700 contract. The item was added to the City Council agenda for 5:30 p.m., Monday, in the Community Room, downstairs from the police station, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.
The next electric municipalization committee meeting is 10 a.m., Feb. 11, in the training room of the fire department on San Marco Road and Bald Eagle Drive. Herrington is scheduled to attend.
Check back to marconews.com for a video from the meeting.