There are a lot of calls in social media and elsewhere to “stop the process” of determining how much the city-owned utility JEA is worth.
What possibly could be wrong with determining its value?
The city’s property appraiser doesn’t know. Neither does anyone else.
Its value is what a willing seller would pay.
Currently, 16 companies are showing an interest in buying. How much would they pay?
Most of those opposing discussion of a sale are irate that the buyer might be an investor-owned utility?
To a few opponents, the reason is that a private business is “greedy” and would raise rates to increase profits. That is pure anti-capitalism.
One of the suitors is Florida Power & Light, which has one of the lowest rates in the state.
There is nothing magical about a city owning a utility company. It has two main advantages: local control and the ability to borrow money cheaply.
But on the flip side, a private company has incentives to do a good job.
Pursuing the sale can do no harm. If it produces a bid that is attractive, those in favor can attempt to put on a sales pitch, telling voters how much good the cash infusion can do.
They have to convince the City Council and the electorate. All indicators are that it will be a tough sell.
But they can’t do it without winning over the public. So there is no harm in allowing them to try.