Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Council Candidates Are at Odds over Southern States Purchase

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Council Candidates Are at Odds over Southern States Purchase

Article excerpt

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS -- About the only issue that separates the

three candidates running for Seat 5 on the Keystone Heights City

Council is whether the city should purchase Southern States

Utilities, a water company that serves the city and surrounding

areas.

The seat attracted a former council member and two newcomers to

politics when Councilwoman Amelia Geisenburg decided not to seek

another term.

Two other seats are up for election, but the incumbents, Bob

Alexander and Bill Beam, received no opposition in their bid for

re-election.

Voters will be going to the polls Tuesday to vote in the

nonpartisan race.

Former council member Jack Raleigh, who lost his bid for

reelection against Geisenburg four years ago, hopes to recapture

the seat he held for six years.

Gerald Moody, a correctional officer at Lawtey Correctional

Institution who was once the inmate work crew supervisor for the

city, and Floyd Smith, who is employed at Keystone Shell Service

Station, also are vying for the spot.

On the issue of the city purchasing Southern States Utilities,

Smith, 74, feels that the city doesn't need to get into the

utility business.

The city has not been happy with recent rate increases imposed

by Southern States and the operation of the utility, officials

said.

"My opinion is to let them [Southern States] run it. They're

doing a good job. It would take more help for the city if they

ran it. Let the company doing it do it," he said.

Raleigh, 46, agrees it would add to the work load at city hall,

but he said there may be a big plus if the city purchased the

company. Raleigh said the city could establish a utility fee

that would include both the garbage fee and the water fee.

"That way those people who don't pay their garbage bills would

get their water turned off. Right now there isn't much that can

be done when people don't pay their garbage bills," Raleigh

said. …

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