City of Bushnell, Florida

Committed to the Quality of Life ...

                   Electric Expansion Info Update Image 05-31-2017

The City of Bushnell is one of Florida's hidden treasures. Its history is rich with fascinating events, some of which played a major role in Florida's history. And Bushnell today seems to have achieved that rare and priceless commodity - balance. Bushnell is a treasure chest laden with interesting people, a concerned local government and a professionally run electric utility.  Incorporated in 1911, its history dates back to 1885, when the changes occurring in Florida were reminiscent of those in the Old West. The Civil War was over, and pioneer towns were springing up across the state. Most of the conflicts with Florida's native Indian tribes had been settled, and people from northern climates were moving south in increasing numbers. Perhaps most importantly, the railroad was laying new tracks in Florida, making the state's central and southern regions much more accessible.

The Railroad and Bushnell

Bushnell is a city shaped by the railroad. Just as train tracks run through the middle of Bushnell today, so its very existence emerged from a railroad station built in the late 19th century. The city is even named in honor of the young chief engineer, John W. Bushnell, who worked for the Florida Railway and Navigation Company survey crew that laid the right-of-way for the railroad from Lake Panasoffkee to Bushnell.
The community of Bushnell officially came into existence with the establishment of the post office on Oct. 28, 1885. Early records show that five or six families resided in the area at that time, with some families having lived there since the area was first settled in 1870. The railroad's extension into the area served as a catalyst for Bushnell's growth. Regular train service began in early 1885, with a depot and passenger shelter built the same year.
Early residents of Bushnell had no way to receive storm warnings. After regular train service was established, six long blasts of the engine whistle told the people stormy weather was coming.
Early Bushnell was a town of sandy, unpaved roads, outdoor privies, no electricity or running water. The railroad was the means for people to travel to other towns. A morning and afternoon train enabled one to travel as far north as Ocala to shop and return the same day.
The city of Bushnell was incorporated on Dec. 14, 1911. The construction of the Sumter County Courthouse in 1913-14 spurred the second expansion and continued growth of Bushnell. It was during this time that the city's first water and electric systems were constructed.
1914, the city of Bushnell had quite a few established businesses - including a grocery store and bank, several churches of different denominations, its own doctor, and a privately owned water system that served the business section and a few residents.  
Bushnell powers up as Electric Utility in 1919

The first electric system was constructed sometime around 1914, according to local records. It was constructed by Holt E. Wey, who later sold the system to the City of Bushnell. On July 18, 1918, Bushnell records show that a $10,000 bond was used for establishing and equipping the lighting system in the city of Bushnell, and connecting the same with the electric grid.  On April 28, 1919, the city of Bushnell purchased the "Bushnell Electric Company" from Holt E. Wey for the sum of $3,000.
At first the only time electric lights were available was between sundown and 11:00 o’clock at night.  The plant was located on the site now occupied by the former Bushnell City Hall on Market Street and contained a diesel-powered generator.  Sometime about 1919, the City of Bushnell connected to the electric grid lines near Camp Grove.

The City of Bushnell held a Special Meeting on Monday, May 15, 2017 at 6:00 p.m., in the Bushnell Council Chambers. The City Council voted to approve Resolution 2017-03. The Resolution approved the exercise of the purchase option to acquire SECO’s Electric Distribution System within the City limits.

Please check the City’s website, www.cityofbushnellfl.com, and your utility bills for future updates on the Bushnell/SECO Electric Purchase.

 The City of Bushnell has been a municipal electric utility provider since 1919, for nearly 100 years. In 1981, the City of Bushnell and Sumter Electric Cooperative, Inc. (now known as SECO Energy), entered into an Electric Service Franchise Agreement for a 30 year term. This agreement allowed SECO Energy to provide electric services to specific areas inside the city limits. The agreement included a purchase option clause that upon expiration of the 30 year term, the City could consider purchasing the SECO Energy electric plant and facilities inside the city limits that serve those Bushnell customers. Since the expiration of the agreement, the City has attempted to negotiate a settlement with SECO but has been unsuccessful. The terms of the Franchise Agreement outlined a formal process called Arbitration, where an arbitration panel of judges could determine the purchase price the City would pay for the system based on facts and evidence.

The arbitration hearing was held at the Sumter County Courthouse in the historic courtroom during the week of February 20-24th. Three arbitrators heard the considerations from both SECO and the City on the purchase option valuation for the service territory that SECO currently serves inside the city limits.

The City has been informed of the arbitrator’s final decision. Based upon the totality of the evidence presented to the arbitrators, the amount of the final award was very close to what the City’s own feasibility study indicated - approx. $5.1 million dollars. Remember, with this expense to purchase, there is offsetting revenue that comes from the selling of the new electric load. Now the City will be able to do a firm cost vs. benefit analysis to see if exercising the purchase option is a good decision for the City and customers. The City feels this is a very important decision and affects the future of the Bushnell Electric System. A larger customer base means more electric revenue to help offset operating costs, thereby spreading those costs out to more customers and possibly resulting in lower rates. It would be the City’s priority to provide the same great reliability to new customers, as our current customers enjoy. The Bushnell City Council will review all the information, carefully examining this purchase option and making a decision for the future of Bushnell in a specially called meeting, date to be determined.

Be an informed citizen - Sign up for automatic emails to alert you when the agenda is published before a meeting by visiting the city’s website at www.cityofbushnellfl.com and signup on the home page. Typically, the agendas are available one week before the public meeting.

Download the attachment below for Final Arbitration Award Information.

If you have questions regarding this information, contact Susan Noell or Bruce Hickle at 352-793-2591.


We have had several customers report to City Hall that they have received calls from an unusual telephone number claiming to be the City of Bushnell. Please DO NOT give out any of your PERSONAL INFORMATION, it is a SCAM!

Customers have reported that it is an automated system telling you that your credit card on file is out of date and that you need to update that information now. They will ask you to press the number and then to enter your credit card information. THIS IS A SCAM , DO NOT DO THIS, HANG UP!

The City of Bushnell WILL NOT call you to update your payment information! Please be very careful and do not give out sensitive information to anyone!

When in doubt, please hang up and call your local provider to verify! DO NOT GIVE OUT ANY SENSITIVE INFORMATION OVER THE PHONE!

If you have any questions, please call City Hall at 352-793-2591.