Electric committee approves consultant for study of LCEC takeover

Committee discusses disbanding

Jerry Gibson, City Councilman and chairman of the city's electric municipalization committee, reviews complaints being filed against members of the electric committee for ethics violations prior to the electric meeting Wednesday.
Kelly Farrell/ Staff

Photo by KELLY FARRELL, Staff

Jerry Gibson, City Councilman and chairman of the city's electric municipalization committee, reviews complaints being filed against members of the electric committee for ethics violations prior to the electric meeting Wednesday. Kelly Farrell/ Staff

— ‘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.

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Comments » 4

dcrain writes:

Isn't it strange that Mr. Herrington just a week ago was hired by Marianna, FL for a fee of $15,000.00 for a similar report? Why is he only charging Marco Island $4,500.00? From googling Mr. Herrington's name, he has been involved as a consultant for 5 of the last 8 Florida municipalities that have taken over their electric utility. He may be a consultant, but I certainly would'nt consider him an independent consultant. Amazing he could perform all of that analysis in 2 days, when it will take him until April to complete his financial analysis for Marianna.
Here's a link to a newspaper report regarding Marianna: http://www.jcfloridan.com/jcf/news/lo...

dcrain writes:

Upon further review, here's an article from last September where Mr. Herrington estimated his fee to Marianna would be $10,000.00. 4 months later he gets a fee of $15,000.00 Hmmmmmm
https://www.istockanalyst.com/article...

Stilllaughing writes:

I don't want to insult the intelligence of our residents but come on - wake up !
Can't you see what's happening here. No one is going to create an accurate study in 2 days for $4700.00. Unless of course you want that study to show takeover is a good thing. Which if you look at Mr. Herrington's track record - it will. Hopefully he'll remember to change the name from Marianna to Marco on the copied report.
Now for $4700.00, the greed and power driven proponents of the LCEC takeover will have a stamp of approval. Not a very credible one but enough to ram this s----- idea down the throats of families like they did with the water and sewer.
Almost all the problems and contention on this island can be linked to public works,
You would think we learned our lesson - apparently not.

playballonK writes:

I love the picture of Gibson and the caption.
Because we all know that he is completely unbiased to both parties in the complaint..........
.............
...........
I need to awake from this evolving nightmare, please someone wake me......

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