The City of Bushnell has published its agenda for the council meeting on Monday, Feb. 1. The agenda contains a request from City Manager Bruce Hickle asking the City Council to authorize steps to initiate and conduct arbitration – an expensive process required for the City to continue its costly quest to purchase SECO’s electric system within city limits.
The City continues to ignore that citizens successfully petitioned for the sale of the City’s electric system to appear on the ballot at the upcoming general election. The citizens’ petition to amend the charter requiring the City to sell its electric system to SECO has already been certified by the Supervisor of Elections and by law must appear on the upcoming general election ballot (if not sooner).
Florida Statute Chapter 166.31 allows electors of a municipality to petition to amend the City’s charter. The Statute states, “The governing body of the municipality shall place the proposed amendment contained in the ordinance or petition to a vote of the electors at the next general election held within the municipality or at a special election called for such purpose.”
The City is ignoring your right to petition, is ignoring its responsibility to acknowledge your successful petition to amend the charter, and is ignoring its legal requirement to place the proposed charter amendment on the November ballot (or sooner through a special election).
It is critical that citizens attend the Feb. 1 council meeting and demand that City recognize the successful petition and explain why they continue to pursue the acquisition of SECO’s electric system when it is clear that the citizens want to sell the City’s electric system to SECO.
Ask your City Council:
- When will the City acknowledge the citizens’ petition and placement of the charter amendment on the November ballot or special election ballot?
- Page 25 of the City’s electric feasibility study reveals that the arbitration process alone to purchase SECO’s system would cost $400,000. There is not $400,000 in the City budget for arbitration. Where will the money come from and how will the City meet the legal requirement to balance its budget?
- Why would the City pursue a $400,000 legal arbitration process to buy SECO’s system when the citizens are against it?
- If the City votes to pursue arbitration right now, why not expedite the vote for the charter amendment so that the citizens’ votes are counted before entering into a $400,000 arbitration?
As a citizen, registered voter and elector of the City of Bushnell, you have rights based on Florida Statute. Stand up and ask the questions – and demand answers.