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Fla. Power, Treasure Island seals short deal

The city opts for a contract of 10 years instead of 30 because of a changing market.

By KATHY SAUNDERS

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 11, 2001


TREASURE ISLAND -- The city renewed its 1971 agreement with Florida Power for 10 years instead of 30 -- the first beach community to negotiate a shorter contract. The city of Seminole signed a similar agreement in January.

Treasure Island officials said they never seriously considered the possibility of buying power elsewhere, but in the future it's possible that municipalities could vote to operate their own utility systems.

"The whole utility landscaping is changing with competition. This is the first time that it has been acknowledged that we have that right," said City Manager Chuck Coward.

In exchange for the shorter agreement, the city waived its right to buy Florida Power's utility system during the next 10 years.

Treasure Island will have the option of renewing its agreement with Florida Power in 10 years. It also will receive more money under the new franchise.

The money the city pays for street lighting now will be included when the franchise fees are figured, meaning the city will receive another $120,000 during the next 10 years. The city currently receives about $480,000 a year from Florida Power. Over the length of the new agreement, the city expects to receive about $5-million, or an additional $20,000 a year.

Coward negotiated with Florida Power for about three months and the new agreement was approved by city commissioners in February.

Florida Power will notify the city two weeks in advance of any construction projects in the city. The power company also agreed to bury its lines at cost if the city decides it wants to pay for underground utilities.

Treasure Island and Seminole are two of eight Pinellas cities whose franchises with Florida Power expire this year. The others are Belleair, Belleair Bluffs, Redington Beach, St. Pete Beach, South Pasadena and Gulfport.

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