Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Engineering consultant back under microscope

ISLAMORADA -- A debate about the village engineering consultant Wade Trim and a renewed push for a permit by the organizer of an early November Windley Key party weekend will highlight separate meetings of the Village Council on Wednesday and Thursday.

The first meeting, involving Wade Trim, will be an Oct. 9 workshop at the Founders Park Community Center.

Councilman Dave Purdo has called for the removal of the firm, which is tasked with watching over work that sewer contractor Layne is doing on the $99 million Islamorada wastewater project. But Purdo's four colleagues on the council have shown no appetite for such a move.

At a council meeting two weeks ago, they focused instead on Purdo, whom they chastised for refusing to turn over a list of questions he had for Wade Trim ahead of the meeting. Purdo eventually turned over two questions.

Purdo's main concern has been about cost. According to records, Wade Trim has billed the village $3 million since it began the watchdog portion of its work in May 2012. With sewer project completion still more than two years off, Purdo estimates that Wade Trim's price is on track to be between $9 million and $11 million, at least $2 million more than Monroe County is paying the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority for overseeing the $150 million Cudjoe Key Regional Wastewater System.

Also Wednesday, the council will discuss whether to repave the 22 privately owned roadways in the village once sewer work is complete. The issue has complicated efforts by Layne, known locally as Reynolds Water Islamorada, to secure easements for sewer trenching on those roads, Layne says. Council members have said they want to do the repaving if they can find a legal way to use public funds on the private roads.

Finally Wednesday, the council will once again discuss grinder pumps. Two weeks ago, after state officials informed the village that's its previous plan to have property owners maintain grinder pumps didn't meet state law, the council agreed to a $3.25 million plan to install and manage grinder pumps on approximately 500 residential properties.

However, the town still hasn't decided how, or whether, it will manage and compensate commercial, condominium and other non-single family properties that will have to install grinder pumps, rather than hook into the vacuum sewer system.

Last week, Village Manager Ed Koconis said he thought Wade Trim and village Wastewater Program Manager Greg Tindle were putting together such a plan, but he knew none of the details. Tindle didn't respond to repeated Free Press phone calls for comment. He also didn't respond to questions about how many hotels and condos will be serviced by grinder pumps.

On Oct. 10, the council will reconsider whether to grant a temporary use permit to the organizers of Beach Road Trip. Two weeks ago, council members unanimously rejected the Nov. 1 to 3 event, which would feature a series of concerts on Windley Key, and has been promoted as a nonstop party. Local hoteliers that would be venues for concerts have asked that the issue be reconsidered and organizers have lowered estimates of event crowds in a modified application.

Also Thursday, the council will consider an employment contract with village attorney-designate Roget Bryan.


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