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Bob Gault
Longboat Key Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 5 years ago

Gault says further undergrounding subsidization won't be supported

Bob Gault urges residents to vote yes for a neighborhood undergrounding project and realize those with buried power lines aren't willing to subsidize any more of the cost for those with above ground power lines.
by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Country Club Shores resident and island-wide undergrounding supporter Bob Gault said the reason that some north end residents will pay 6.25 times more to bury power lines is simple.

“The simple answer is that those neighborhoods with above ground power lines benefit by far, (6.25 times), over those already undergrounded neighborhoods.” Gault wrote Thursday in an email to the Longboat Key Town Commission and the Longboat Observer.

Gault also points out that the above ground power lines aren’t just in communities on the north end of the Key.

“It is not just the Village to the north paying more to underground their 1950s electric infrastructure,” Gault wrote. “The large development of Country Club Shores, our communities' ‘front door’ in the south, will pay the same higher assessments for the benefit of ridding this blight of unsightly and unsafe power lines.”

Gault says it’s not fair for property owners with buried power lines to subsidize neighborhoods that need their lines buried.

“Regardless of this ‘balance of power’ voting block nonsense, this referendum could easily fail, as written, because already undergrounded neighborhoods are being assessed 20% of the bill for the fiber optics and for the good of the community overall,” Gault wrote.

Gault says the vote will definitely fail if property owners with buried power lines are asked to subsidize any more of the cost for their neighbors.

 “We must stop over complicating this already complex issue increasing risk of failure,” Gault wrote. “Let us all step back, take a deep breath and focus on the original objective to underground our antiquated, unsafe and unsightly electric infrastructure on our storm-prone island. Let's just vote ‘Yes,’ hopefully, for the good of all.”

The Town Commission will discuss the $23.85 million undergrounding project for neighborhoods and side streets at its 1 p.m. Jan. 19 regular workshop at Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].

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