LCEC, city, sit down for preliminary session en route to franchise negotiation
LCEC sat down with the city this week as a first step in reconnecting the franchise agreement negotiations that were placed on hold for months until City Council voted recently to withdraw its complaint filed with the Florida Public Service Commission.
LCEC confirmed the meeting took place with CEO Dennie Hamilton meeting with City Manager John Szerlag, Council For Progress representatives Joe Mazurkiewicz and Brian Rist to discuss things they want to talk about, but no time or date was established.
“They wanted to discuss things they will start talking about,” said LCEC spokesperson Karen Ryan. “Just wanted the Council For Progress to weigh in and to make sure they are all on the same page.”
City staff previously indicated the city and LCEC will have to identify common ground and specific terms on which they can agree. The Council For Progress has acted as an intermediary between the parties. A list of terms previously proposed by the city is no longer on the table.
“We are continuing to meet with the goal of negotiating the best franchise agreement for our Cape Coral rate payers,” said Szerlag.
LCEC delivered its first proposed franchise agreement to the city long before the latest 30-year agreement expired last October. The city delivered a proposal in response, but then filed the complaint with the FPSC.
LCEC broke off negotiations while the complaint was active with the FPSC. The city’s desire to create its own municipal electric utility also appears dead.
Previous published reports indicated the two sides spent more than $1.2 million on attorneys, consultants, audit and filing fees over the past year.