Esto Council talks West Florida Electric franchise fee length

The Town of Esto will set a 10-year length for their franchise fee agreement with West Florida Electric Co-Op.

The Town Council decided to extend the franchise arrangement during a meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20. The proposed new fee will now be 6.5%, up from the previous rate of 5%, Town Clerk Ben Tew said.

“When we discussed it last month, y’all said you wanted a term of one year but I would hope we might want to reconsider that because one year is really short,” Tew said. “Considering the process we have to go through to get these enacted, most towns and municipalities, the shortest ones I could find was for five years.”

The 5% rate was set in 2023 for one year. The Town Council is setting a rate of 6.5% because it will not be renewed for 10 years.

Council Vice President Josh Davenport made the motion to set the 10-year length after initially proposing a five-year length. 

“If it was just one year, y’all could set a new rate next year but we would also have to go through the process,” Tew said. “You’d have to have the full reading of the ordinance at one meeting and then it gets advertised in the newspaper and then you go to read it at the next meeting and then it goes to West Florida Electric and their board of commissioners have to approve the new agreement and then it comes back to us. It could take two or three or four months, even, to do the process.”

A first reading of the ordinance was held at the Feb. 20 meeting. A second reading to make it official will occur at the March meeting.

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