Could NSB municipal gov't take over utility with car dealer Jack Holcomb on board?

Jack Holcomb, shown above, was appointed Aug. 25, to the Utilities Commission for a three-year term. Mayor Jim Hathaway and City Commissioners Judy Reiker and Kirk Jones voted for him. Lee Griffith was re-appointed the same night to a new term.
Bob Tolley / Headline SurferBy BOB TOLLEY
Tolley's Perch
Headline Surfer

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FLA. -- With the recent appointment of auto dealership owner Jack Holcomb to the Utilities Commission, the city could now have the three votes it needs to control the budget and finances of the utility, which it has been desperately seeking control of for years.

Holcomb is the latest in a long line of city commission appointees who have no direct experience or knowledge of utility management/operations.

The three votes could be made up of private attorney Ken Bohannon, Bill Biedenbach and now Holcomb. In case the readers are new to the area or have simply not kept track of the clock, the last time the city was in this position of control, it directly caused the utility to lose more than $10 million dollars in a fraudulent folly called Telecom.

This was a plan which was to provide telephone service not only locally, but also in several other states, the majority part of which was done without the knowledge of the citizens/ratepayers. The authority to begin the program was by a resolution passed by the city commission at an emergency meeting at 2 in the afternoon. This scheme all but caused the utility to go bankrupt.

Now the plan by the New Smyrna Beach City Commission and its cronies is to do away with the Developers Agreement Addendum.

Now the plan by the New Smyrna Beach City Commission and its cronies is to do away with the Developers Agreement Addendum.

This was put into place by the utility in an effort to ensure that the citizens/ratepayers did not have to pay out of their pocket for any of the utilities needed by the developers for their projects, as was the case for years dating back to the early Venetian Bay days, if not before.

Back in the day,  handshakes were the way business was conducted with certain developers and city hall via their hand puppet crony Ron Vaden, the then-general manager of the utility who had the citizens pay for the developers utilities costs where and whenever possible.

Now the city wants a $1 million-plus "loan" from the utility in order to extend the utilities on State Road 44 to assist certain developers with their projects, as confirmed via an "open mic" discussion between Mayor Jim Hathaway and City Manager Pam Brangaccio during a joint meeting between the utility and city on April 29.

The Utilities Commission is not a bank, nor should it need to act as one, unless the citizens/ratepayers agree to the plan beforehand by way of a referendum.

Why shouldn't a developer/builder pay their own way for all of the utilities?

Why should the citizens have to pay for anything?

When did the elected officials stop representing 'We The People" and start representing the interests of the developers and other special interest groups?

It is apparent now more than ever, that the "corruption, collusion & cronyism are not only alive and well at New Smyrna Beach City Hall, but thriving. The real games have just begun!

Until the next time,

Bob Tolley

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Short Bio

Bio: Bob Tolley is a resident of New Smyrna Beach and citizen watchdog of municipal government. He writes his occasional column, "Tolley's Perch" for Headline Surfer, accessed via (formerly Headline Surfer is owned by NSB News LLC/Publisher Henry Frederick, an award-winning journalist, whose internet news site covers Central Florida, with particular emphasis on Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, DeLand, Sanford and Orlando.