For Pinecrest homeowners who have been frustrated that FPL and ATT failed to remove old poles in their yards after installation of new ones, relief is on the way.
After County Commissioner Xavier Suarez knocked some heads, on June 29 the utilities agreed to remove 135 old poles over the next four months using an initial list provided by new Pinecrest Public Works Director Mark Spanioli. FPL’s effort will include getting Comcast and ATT to relocate their cable lines to new poles where necessary in anticipation of the removals.
Pinecrest’s double-pole inventory has been rising for at least eight years, and possibly longer. The Village had been stymied in persuading FPL to remove its poles because FPL’s 30-year franchise fee agreement outlining its obligations was with the county, not Pinecrest. Essentially, Pinecrest had no leverage until I appealed to Comissioner Suarez in mid-June to intercede on Pinecrest’s behalf.
At a meeting arranged by the commis- sioner, Spanioli got the attention of representatives from the three utilities by saying that the Pinecrest Village Council would entertain an ordinance requiring FPL to complete pole transfers, and for FPL and ATT to remove poles within 60 days. Momentum for the utilities to resolve this longstanding issue built quickly after the May Council meeting, which featured my agenda item to hold FPL accountable for adverse impacts resulting from recent installation of metal mega-poles. These impacts include needlessly aggressive tree trimming and in one case, placing a three-foot-diameter pole in the middle of a sidewalk.
Long-term, the Village and FPL will begin discussions in 2018 about a new franchise agreement to replace the one with the county that will expire in 2020.
Among other issues, we should push for greater recognition of aesthetic considerations, better maintenance and upgraded landscaping of its facilities, such as the transformer station on Southwest 82nd Avenue. Also, Pinecrest’s ordinance, hopefully to be codified in the new franchise agreement, should include daily financial penalties for any failure to remove poles within prescribed time limits.
It’s worth mentioning that several years ago the Village and the other eight new municipalities each invested $10,000 in an audit to make certain that FPL was transmitting to us the correct amount of franchise fee revenue collected from customers. The audit disclosed that an unknown county-approved formula change back in 2005 adversely affects the new municipalities. As a result, Pinecrest may be losing $35,000 per year. A new franchise fee agreement could rectify this situation.
Meanwhile, our public works director recognizes that our inventory of unneeded poles is far from complete. Following the Suarez meeting, he located 28 more duplicates and the list continues to grow. This is where you come in. If you know of a double pole either on your street or on an easement by the side or rear of your property, I invite you to report it to Mark Spanioli at 305-669- 6916 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A map of known pole locations is on the Village website at www.pinecrest-fl.gov/publicworks.
I commend Commissioner Suarez for his quick response to my call for help and for his effective intervention.