MARATHON, FL – The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners had a long and busy monthly meeting Wednesday at the Marathon Government Center.
Here are some of the highlights:
Middle Keys Health Care Municipal Service Taxing Unit
The Commission unanimously approved an ordinance to create the Middle Keys Health Care Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU) for the purpose of levying and collecting property taxes for residents from mile marker 40 to 66 for indigent health care costs at Fishermen’s Community Hospital in Marathon.
Baptist Health South, which owns and operates Fishermen’s Hospital, will redirect the funds that would have gone to indigent health care to pay for construction of a new $40 million hospital. Fishermen’s Hospital suffered significant damage during Hurricane Irma and its main facility has not been able to reopen.
The City of Marathon and the City of Key Colony Beach also will have to approve an ordinance to allow their taxpayers to be part of the MSTU before any taxes can be levied. The hospital also will have to enter into an agreement with the County spelling out what it must do in order to get the reimbursements for indigent health care. This will include meeting milestones toward planning, design and construction of the new hospital.
The MSTU would collect taxes for 10 years. This tax cannot exceed more than one-half of a mill (0.0005), which is $150 per year on real property with a taxable assessed value of $300,000. The hospital estimates that the tax levy would raise about $1.8 million per year. The BOCC will set the tax rate for the MSTU during next summer’s budget proceedings. Taxes would be levied and collected beginning in November 2019 (FY 2020). The BOCC decides each year whether to collect the tax and/or at what amount.
“I think a hospital is one of the most important a community, particularly a rural remote community, can have,” Monroe County Mayor David Rice said. “I think it needs to be completed and in operation as soon as possible.”
Workforce Housing and KOTS Lease on County Jail Property on Stock Island
The BOCC approved County staff pursuing zoning changes to County-owned property on Stock Island for the purpose of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office constructing workforce housing for its employees.
The BOCC also approved extending the lease for the Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter for one year. The shelter is on the same County-owned property that would be used for the new workforce housing. The Commission mandated that KOTS must move at the end of that renewed lease, Sept. 27, 2019. KOTS was supposed to use the property as a temporary site and now has been at that location for 14 years.
New Cudjoe Key Fire Station #11
The BOCC approved moving forward on a $4 million contract with West Construction Inc. of Lantana, FL (the highest ranked respondent) for the construction of the new Cudjoe Key Fire Station #11.
The fire station will be an 8,038-square-feet, one-story masonry structure with three bays and four bunk rooms. It will be built on three parcels of land in Cutthroat Harbor that the County purchased in 2015.
The new station will serve Cudjoe Key and Summerland Key and is funded by the County’s one-cent infrastructure sales tax. Construction is expected to begin soon.
Sea Level Rise Road Pilot Projects
The Commission approved negotiating a contract with WSP, USA Inc., the highest ranked respondent, for Engineering Design and Permitting Services for a Sea Level Rise Pilot Project with specified roads in the Twin Lakes subdivision in Key Largo and the Sands Subdivision in Big Pine Key.
This pilot project will be designed to lessen the frequency or severity of flooding and decrease predicted flood damage. The project design will include roadway elevation, reconstruction of base and asphalt, striping, signage and other items as required by FDOT design standards.
Transfer of County Affordable ROGO allocations to City of Marathon
The Commission approved the transfer of 18 of the County’s affordable ROGO allocations to the City of Marathon for a St. Columba project on the condition that the 18 existing market rate ROGO allocations harvested from the site only can be used in the unincorporated area of the County.
The Commission also approved the transfer of 11 of the County’s affordable ROGO allocations to the City of Marathon for a project applied by IMBY, Inc., with the condition that the County receives acceptable compensation.
Marathon Airport 75th Anniversary Celebration
The BOCC approved a 75th Anniversary Celebration to commemorate the Florida Keys Marathon International Airport. During World War II, the U.S. Navy built the airport that was completed in the spring of 1943.
The free 75th Anniversary Celebration will be on Oct. 20, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Marathon General Aviation Ramp. The family-friendly event will showcase antique aircraft and antique cars, as well as military planes and other aircraft for people to see.
There also will be food by Irie Eats, music and local vendors. Farmer Jeannie will bring her Monroe County Sheriff’s Office petting zoo for kids of all ages.
More information is available at www.monroecounty-fl.gov/MarathonAirport75th.