Completely unbeknownst to the citizens of Sanford their elected and appointed leaders at City Hall are plotting to ruin one of Sanford’s most respected and cherished restaurants—Bay Breeze Seafood Restaurant. Even worse, they are colluding on this matter without any hint of transparency or public disclosure. It is one of the worst kinds of scandals in the history of the city and it is being perpetrated in a manner that almost certainly will result in the city being sued or counter-sued at taxpayer expense.
The scandal started with an egregious mistake on the part of the city. The restaurant was notified nearly two years ago that it had to replace pipes and lines to remedy a water loss problem. After thousands of dollars in expensive repairs, the city determined the problem was not resolved- that the problem was actually on the city’s end all along. As part of its internal corrective action the city replaced its meter at the restaurant. The restaurant officials complained to the city that they should be reimbursed for the unnecessary repairs and believed they would get some recompense. All was going to be resolved, or so the restaurant owners thought. For the next year, the restaurant received and paid monthly water bills that were unusually low but easily understandable since they were entitled to some reimbursement for their previous expenses.
After about a year of lower than normal billing the city determined their newly installed meter wasn’t properly working. So they sent a bill of nearly $10,000 to the restaurant demanding payment for the water they had been consuming the past year. When the restaurant refused to back-pay for more than one month’s normal water usage the city threatened legal action. Both parties are now lawyering up.
Our illustrious mayor, city manager and every one of the city councilmen (except Charles Taylor) appear to have turned on the owners of Bay Breeze. The city clearly knows it was exclusively at fault in failing to properly meter and bill the restaurant. But instead of doing the right and proper thing and simply take corrective action on the city’s meter they instead decided to oppress one of Sanford’s finest eating establishments.
I don’t know how any of these predatory city officials will ever step foot in this restaurant again without feeling a hypocrite. More importantly, the citizens of Sanford should fear the predatory practices of their current leadership. Reminder– 2013 is an election year for the mayor and three of the council seats (Cohen, Gaskins, and Williams). Buyer beware!