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City of Bushnell, Florida

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                   Electric Expansion Info Update Image 05-15-2017

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 10:54

Bushnell/SECO Electric Purchase Update

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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.

ATTENTION ALL CITY OF BUSHNELL CUSTOMERS: CALLS ARE BEING MADE TO YOU PRETENDING TO BE THE CITY OF BUSHNELL!

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.

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. It will take some time for the arbitrators to go over all the information, and determine a fair market value. Once this occurs, the City will then be able to do a firm cost vs. benefit analysis to see if exercising the purchase option is a good decision for the City. The findings and subsequent decision will be discussed with Bushnell City Council in a public meeting.  

To stay informed, visit the City’s website to view the upcoming agendas or sign up for automatic emails to alert you when the agenda is published before a meeting. Typically, the agendas are available one week before the public meeting. If you have questions regarding this information, contact Susan Noell or Bruce Hickle at 352-793-2591.

 

The City of Bushnell and SECO will begin Arbitration proceedings on Monday, February 20th, at the Sumter County historic courthouse, beginning at 9am.  This process will take several days, and will determine the actual purchase price for the electric system inside the city limits that SECO currently serves.  The Bushnell City Council will discuss and decide on this decision at an upcoming City Council meeting.  If you would like to receive an agenda, you can sign up online and one will be automatically sent to you via email when it is published.  Stay informed – sign up today!

Every year the City of Bushnell teams up with the Children's Home Society and places an Angel Tree in the lobby of City Hall. This allows the community to help grant Christmas wishes to less fortunate children in the community. This year the support and out-reach from the community was overwhelming! Many citizens throughout Bushnell came to pick their special child or children to make their Christmas bright. Sumter Oaks RV Park took 12 of the children and provided gifts for all of them! The community was so gracious that along with the 40 names on the tree, we also sent out 6 very large boxes of extra toys so no one was forgotten.

A huge THANK YOU TO THE COMMUNITY and a very Merry Christmas!

The Arbitration Hearing, to determine the purchase cost of the SECO electric system inside the city limits, has been postponed, due to an unavoidable delay, until a future date in early 2017.  The purpose of the arbitration is to decide the appropriate value of the SECO electric system, inside the Bushnell City Limits only, so that the City can do a cost benefit analysis to determine if this purchase is a good decision for the future of Bushnell’s citizens.

Citizens for Cooperative Power (SECO-Supported Petition):

A judge has ruled that the SECO-backed petition submitted by Citizens for Cooperative Power is illegal and ordered the City NOT to place the question requiring the sale of Bushnell Electric to SECO on the ballot. The judge also said that any ballot question on the sale of City property should include the terms of the deal.

Save Bushnell Citizens Group Petition:

That brings us to another petition from a newly formed group called “Save Bushnell”, which also conducted a petition drive to change Bushnell’s charter. That change would require the terms of a deal be shared with voters when they are asked to approve the sale of City property. Save Bushnell has collected the required signatures and the City Council is reviewing their proposed charter change. It has not yet been placed on the ballot.

Arbitration:

In the meantime, Bushnell is continuing arbitration with SECO. The goal is to determine the fair market value of the section of Bushnell that SECO currently services. Once the facts are known we can continue the discussion about whether it makes sense to purchase SECO’s electric system in the city limits as allowed in our contract.  We don’t know how long this process will take but the current calendar calls for a hearing before the end of the year.

Sumter County Times published a few articles on these subjects in their July 26, 2016 edition. Open the attachments below to read these articles!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016 08:42

UPDATE ON THE ELECTRIC TERRITORY EXPANSION

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Open the attachment below for the most up to date information on the Electric Expansion; including answers to frequently asked questions.

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