June 19, 2017

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control board will vote Tuesday on whether to implement eight- or 12-year term limits for commissioners and hold its first budget workshop.

The commission will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss its retirement healthcare issues. Then it will hold a budget workshop, and at 1 p.m., it will hold its regular meeting to discuss term limits. The board meets at the Mosquito Control District office, 503 107th St. in Marathon. 

The commissioners are split on how many four-year terms commissioners should serve.

Commissioners Tom McDonald and Phil Goodman favor two four-year terms, while commissioners Jill Cranney-Gage, Brandon Pinder and Stan Zuba prefer three four-year terms.

“I am still going to push for eight years and hope I can get one of three to go along with me, but I can vote for 12,” Goodman said.

Zuba and Pinder lobbied for longer terms because mosquito control is a highly technical field and it takes a while for commissioners to learn all of the science behind it, they said.

Cranney-Gage said she did not want to punish commissioners who are doing a good job.

Once approved by the board, the district would still have to receive state legislative approval before the limits could go into effect.

The proposed change would not go before the state Legislature until March 2018.

Goodman first proposed term limits in 2013 but failed to obtain the rest of the board’s support to take it before the state Legislature.

At that time, longtime commissioners Bill Shaw and Steve Smith were serving on the board and opposed the proposal. Both had served five consecutive four-year terms.

The commission will hold its first budget workshop Tuesday. The district and taxpayers are not facing huge increases in expenses tied to construction of the district’s new building on Big Coppitt Key.

Roughly $2.8 million of the $3.1 million construction costs have already been funded, district spokeswoman Beth Ranson said.

Last year, the district was looking at a roughly 45 percent property tax increase, but reduced it to 22 percent after it scaled back the size of the building.

tohara@keysnews.com