Tampa-TECO negotiations still ongoing

03/20/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Tampa City Council members were supposed to receive an update today on the latest in negotiations between Pam Iorio's administration and Tampa Electric Co. on a new franchising agreement.

But City Attorney David Smith said he’d prefer that he brief the Council on separate deals with the McKay Bay Waste facilty station and a lighting agreement, and he asked that the issue be postponed from April to June.

That request upset City Councilman Thomas Scott, who has been chastised by local newspapers for wanting to speed up negotiations with TECO.

The deal would extend TECO’s exclusive rights to provide power to the city for the next 25 years, but the city may want an extention that isn’t as lengthy.

The issue of converting to undergrounding power lines is something some Council members have been inquiring about.

Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena suggested that the administration provide an update on the TECO proposal so Tampa citizens can have a chance to know what’s going on.

City Councilman John Dingfelder questioned Tampa City Attorney Tom Cloud if it would be in the city’s best interest to sign a 25 year agreement.

City attorneys said they were delaying further negotiations with TECO on a franchise agreement because of dual negotiations about the waste energy plant at McKay Bay.

The city of Tampa is currently making debt payments on the facility, but its only client since it was created has been Tampa Bay Electric.

But could the city find another buyer for that facility? TECO Attorney Tom Hernandez questioned that possibility, and said TECO wanted to re-open a new lighting agreement.

Councilman Charlie Miranda said he didn’t believe the administration or TECO was being completely open about these negotiations.

The Council will talk about the TECO franchise agreement in June.

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