The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 7, 1997 · Page 96
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 96

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 7, 1997
Page 96
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2F THE PALM BEACH POST SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1997 J; 1 T15 1 : yd: f: Merchant plant builders claim they can lower cost of electricity ' f H .1 -ft VirH , t THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The halls at the Hanna-Barbera studios in Los Angeles are covered with cartoons. Fans want landmark status for Hanna-Barbera studios quests for rulings on whether more generating capacity is needed in the state, an important first step in building a plant. The staff says that Florida can accommodate both merchant plants and traditional power plants. "Different regulatory schemes based on contrasting rationales can co-exist," wrote PSC Associate General Counsel Richard Bellak. "The commission can oversee their separate evolutions and make policies appropriate to each as may be required by the state's changing needs." The PSC is scheduled to act on the staff recommendation on Dec. 16. The state's largest public utility, Florida Power & Light, has gotten involved in the case as an interested party even though it would not be directly affected by the proposed merchant plants. FPL says it doesn't want to see a precedent set by allowing one merchant plant into the state. The electric company says that developers will overbuild, plants won't be able to keep up and will be abandoned. "It amazes me somewhat that we're returning to the era where we once started: every man for himself," said Sam Waters, FPL's director of regulatory affairs. But merchant plant advocates say that FPL and other utilities are fighting to preserve a highly regulated system in which they have a vested interest. "FPL is a tough cookie to work with," said Rick Wolfinger, a vice president at Constellation Power Development, which is considering eight possible sites to build merchant plants in Florida. "Their entire shareholder value is based on having a strong regulatory environment," Wolfinger said. "They'll never make any more money than they're making now." ural-gas plants would be as clean and efficient as any operating in the state today. In a regulated state like Florida, merchant plants can only sell to utilities; the utilities in turn would resell the power to their customers. But according to utilities, Duke's plant would sell power directly to an industrial customer IMC-Agrico. "(The) proposal is nothing more than a suberfuge for a retail sale of electric power," charged the Tampa Electric Co. in a PSC filing. The merchant plant would "have a profoundly adverse financial impact on Tampa Electric and its retail customers." IMC-Agrico, which converts phosphate into fertilizer, is one of Tampa Electric's biggest customers. Losing the phosphate giant would result in at least $12.3 million in lost annual revenue, Tampa Electric claims. Tampa Electric is not alone. Florida Power Corp. in St. Petersburg says it has sold $20.8 million worth of power to IMC-Agrico in the past year. IMC-Agrico, as Duke's partner in the plant proposal, says that because it is a partner in the project, it would merely be generating its own energy, which is legal under Florida's regulatory scheme. "We will irrevocably own a piece of that power plant," said Tip Fowler, IMC-Agrico's senior vice president of operations. "We unquestionably have the right to self-generate." IMC-Agrico buys between $60 million and $70 million of electricity a year, primarily from Tampa Electric and Florida Power Corp. The phosphate minining concern also generates its own power with three facilities using waste heat from burning sulphur. The company received 130 responses to its quarter-page ad in The Wall Street Journal, including proposals from Tampa Electric and Florida Power Corp. IMC-Agrico picked Duke's merchant-plant idea and also decided to upgrade its transmission lines. Fowler would not disclose specific savings estimates but said the savings would be significant. "It's going to be pushing double-digit millions of dollars in savings," he said. PSC staff is recommending a hearing on the matter. On Thursday the regulatory staff also recommended that the commission allow Duke to proceed with re- POWER From IF ': Today, merchant plants are being developed so quickly that it's difficult to keep track of them. In Richmond, Va.( energy attorney Stephen Watts II, who heads his law firm's "Power Resource Team," makes regular updates to a listing of 50 merchant plants on a Web site devoted to the topic (http:www.mwbb.comser-vicesenergy-mp.htm). Merchant plants work with a hodge-podge of contracts, both short- and long-term. For example, a facility in Sweeny, Texas, has sold as little as three hours of energy to Texas Utilities when it was brought down by extreme heat and mechanical problems. But in February the plant will begin a 20-year contract to sell power to Phillips Petroleum Co. Florida is a relative latecomer to the debate. But a growing population combined with aging plants are creating pressure for new sources of energy. Merchant plants are a draw here because it is difficult to bring in power from out of state. With Florida surrounded on three sides by water, and transmission lines on the state's northern border limited, the plants have become attractive. : Duke Energy says that its two proposed merchant plants would be built primarily to sell power to utilities within the state. Duke is proposing a natural-gas-fired plant in south Polk or north Hardee County, about 50 miles east of Tampa, that would generate between 240 megawatts and 750 megawatts of power. (By comparision, Florida Power & Light's St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant generates 1,553 megawatts.) The plant would be built with IMC-Agrico, a Mulberry-based phosphate mining company, that would be Duke's partner in the project. IMC-Agrico would take 120 megawatts of the energy, and Duke would sell the rest on the open market. Duke also wants to build a similar plant in New Smyrna Beach to generate between 240 megawatts and 500 megawatts of power. Between 20 megawatts and 30 megawatts would be sold to the New Smyrna Beach Utilities Commission; the rest would be sold on the wholesale market. Duke claims the proposed nat Warner - considers Hanna-Barbera "a cherished brand, not a cherished building." The studio is across from Universal City. Universal intends to use the Hanna-Barbera buildings as office space and does not plan to demolish them, a spokeswoman for Universal said. The landmarking decision rests with the city's Cultural Heritage Commission, which recently toured the studio's cartoon-lined hallways. Such a designation could delay for a year any move to tear down the buildings. As MGM animators, Barbera and William Hanna created the Tom and Jerry cartoons and then, in 1957, founded their own company rivaled, perhaps, only by Walt Disney and Warner itself. Hanna and Barbera are now in their 80s, Among their most popular creations were the prehistoric Flintstone family, whose affable Fred was given to exclaiming "Yabba Dabba Doo!"; the space-age Jetsons and Yogi Bear, who lounged around Jellystone park figuring out ways to separate tourists from their picnic baskets. The Associated Press LOS ANGELES If Fred Flintstone were to get a say in what happens to the buildings that house Hanna-Barbera Productions, he might be bellowing "Yabba Dabba Don't!" The studio that created such classic TV cartoons as the Flintstones, the Jetsons and Yogi Bear is at the center of a battle stemming from Time Warner Inc's plans to sell the studio's offices. If the deal with Universal Studios goes through, about 130 employees of Hanna-Barbera would be moved from their green-and-yellow buildings to a high-rise already housing Warner Bros, animators. The plan is bumping up against opponents who consider the Hanna-Barbera facilities worthy of protection as a historic and cultural landmark. And they're holding firm as bedrock. "It's just a little bitty studio that's done great things," said Margaret Roberts, assistant for the past 17 years to company co-founder Joseph Barbera. She is trying to rally animation fans nationwide to support the landmark designation cause. But Warner spokeswoman Barbara Brogliatti said Capriati looking for home in West Palm area or other he just couldn't get them closed," LiCastri said. Want to check it out? There's an open house today from 1 to 5 p.m. You can reach Ava Van de Water at 820-4722, fax her at 820-4445, or write her at The Palm Beach Post, P.O. Box 24700, West Palm Beach, FL 33416-4700. Sea church. That deal is set to close Dec. 17. "More and more people, thankfully for us, are starting to discover the auction process," LiCastri said. "For some, conventional marketing just isn't working fast enough." And that's the case of the owner of the Northboro Park home. The recently remodeled three-bedroom, two-bath CBS house is owned by a man who is anxious to join his wife in England. "He had offers, but for one reason TVfWSS Bill discounts common 1,400-square-foot house in May. We can assume, of course, that a tennis court is tops on her wish list. H Open today, sold . . . next Saturday? That's likely to be the case with a 1950 home in West Palm Beach's historic Northboro Park neighborhood. The 1,138-square-foot house at 518 39th St. will be sold via absolute auction at 11 a.m. Saturday through National Auction Co. "Whatever the highest bid is, it's sold," said National Auction's Rick LiCastri. Auction business seems to be picking up. LiCastri's company recently auctioned two houses in Palm Beach, one of which is a 1926 house at 200 Barton Ave. catty-cornered from Bethesda-by-the I 15 YEAR FIXED I 6.50 7m O INCOME, NO ASSET LOWEST RATES AVAILABLE ASK 3 Down Payment ABOUT 'No Closing Costs OUR: Ho Points First MORTGAGE payments HOMES From IF wings, a glass-enclosed spiral staircase and two wine cellars. It's owned by the Mann family of Germany, through Sunbelt Corporate Center II Inc. Joining the tennis legends of Palm Beach County Jennifer Capriati. We hear Capriati is house-hunting in the West Palm Beach area, looking at homes in the $800,000 range. But Capriati is no stranger here her mom lives at PGA National. What's more, we just discovered that Jennifer bought a place in Delray earlier this year. But that house, near the Intra-coastal Waterway, is not in the same league as her current budget. She paid $266,000 for the New Sharp SF 2020 With Document Feeder & Two Universal Paper Drawers For only $89.00 per month Includes 50,000 free copies 848-1644 or 848-4770 EXPERIENCE... DEPUTATION... RESULTS... SINCE 1)70 REAL ESTATE LICENSE-APPRAISALS CERTIFICATION MORTGAGE BROKER LICENSE-PROP. MQMT. (CAM) CALL FOR FREE BROCHURE AND SCHEDULE COLD COAST SCHOOL OF REAL ESTATE . A GIMELSTOB COMPANY I We've moved! Our new WPB location is : 1756 N. Congress 200 (561 ) 684-0044 I i Southern CORP, I ' DIRECT LENDERS 'Licensed Mortgage Bankers, F.S Banking Department ' Rates subject to change without nolice Mortgages with financing in excess ol 8d available with slightly higher PRandjMmthiyj) Advertisement NEW TAX LAW KILLS YOUR IRA AT DEATH!!! Under the new tax law the I.R.S. will take almost ALL OF YOUR IRA IN TAXES when you die. For a free report on how to give your IRA to your kids instead of the I.R.S. telephone 1-800- ,453-3657 24 hours for a free recorded message. Frank T. Pilotte, Esq. Murphy, Reid, Pilotte, Ord and Austin ; X PERFECT INVESTMENT No Risk I iff "I7 CD Alternative 1 If i 1 1 GUARANTEED monthly income plans Rhoades Financial Group 966-8633 1 30 YEAR FIXED C 07KO 7.375' UiUfJ0 APR T vntvi iviwn I unuc AvaiiableJ Nortn paim ueacn 561-688-0844 Boca Raton 561-361-8200 Broward 954-527-5800 Partner P OODODO oooooa I IV ri jglij 1 X B j Financial Planning Alert! How To Take Advantage of the New Tax and Trust Law Changes f 2 for year-end COLLECT From IF But there's no one better than the lawyer who has the relationship with the client. So even though firms have accounting departments or collection agencies, they still look to the lawyers to collect bills. Lawyers try not to let clients know how dearly their payments would help them personally. Instead, they might say something like, "It sure would be great if you would pay us so I don't have to listen to my partners complain anymore," Cole said. However, personal pleas aren't uncommon. Once, "a partner called us to say that bonuses were being paid and we had an outstanding bill," said Marshall Leeds, chairman of JW Charles Financial Services Inc. in Boca Raton. Leeds overnighted a check to the lawyer. Greenberg Traurig is one firm that relies heavily on the deferred compensation system for partners and some associates. Deferred compensation can range from 10 percent to 40 percent of a lawyer's salary. For many firms, collections in the last couple of months can add up to 30 to 40 percent of the firm's total collections, said Howard Bregman of Greenberg Traurig. While Greenberg Traurig's isn't that high, "it is a significant number in the last month," Bregman said. Most law firms say they've gotten better about collecting throughout the year. Gunster Yoakley Valdes-Fauli & Stewart, for instance, sends monthly statements and reminder letters to clients, said David Mcintosh, chief executive officer of the West Palm Beach-based firm. Mcintosh also encourages lawyers to collect payment as soon as a good result takes place. If they delay, "clients forget how happy they were," Mcintosh said. But sometimes, added Bregman, "lawyers wake up and realize it's mid-November and they've got to collect." These days, the FedEx number is flying out the firm's door to clients who have agreed to overnight their payments, Bregman said. And he knows of one instance where the firm literally flew someone out to pick up a check. Some sawy clients, knowing the pressure faced by their lawyers, try to extract discounts from their firms. They may agree to pay a portion of their bill by year-end in exchange for the firm writing off the rest. "Unfortunately for us, there's a lot of deal-making that goes on," Bregman said. "Most clients don't take advantage, but people who are looking for an edge do, and sometimes we find ourselves making deals." Cole, of Edwards & Angell, agreed. "Cash is king so when push comes to shove, you take what you can get." But he added: "We might not be willing to continue the client relationship." Lawyers admit the negotiating process isn't ideal because it trains clients not to pay on time. Then the submitted bill becomes "not what they owe, it's the amount at which (clients) are ready to start negotiating," Rosen said. Still, firms such as Greenberg Traurig and Edwards & Angell say they're taking a harder line. But Toothman said many firms still are cutting fees. Discounts of 25 percent and even 50 percent are not unheard of. And "token" discounts of 5 and 10 percent happen all the time, Toothman said. How can firms afford this? "The markup on legal services is so high," Toothman said. "There's a large amount of fat." Of course, there are times when clients refuse to pay, period, regardless of the time of year. Toothman attributes this, in part, to a "deep-seated resentment" of how lawyers get paid. "There's something about dollars per hour that gets the public every time," he said. c Financial and Estate Planners, Frank T. Pilotte, Esq. and Louis J. Macloskey, will explain: Louis J. Macloskey, CFP, ChFC, CLU President Financial Planning Investment Group, Inc. ...the tax traps in the new tax law and how they affect family partnerships and charitable trusts; living trusts may provide a false sense of security with unseen problems, making these trusts ineffective; to use the new tax law to double your retirement savings; ...the benefits of the new tax law for home owners; to exempt your home from estate taxes and still live in it; J to avoid paying estate taxes for generations without buying life insurance, even on multimillion-dollar estates. CALL NOW FOR RESERVATIONS! 689-5724 or (800) 940-3744 PALM BEACH AIRPORT HILTON 150 Australian Avenue West Palm Beach 2 p.m. Tuesday, December 9, 1997 ' 2 p.m. Thursday, December 1 1, 1997 There is no charge for this presentation but as space is limited, please call today! The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. This is Louis Macloskey 's fifteenth consecutive year of seminars in South Florida

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