Florida Keys News
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
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Three file for November election

MARATHON -- Three men have filed paperwork to run for three at-large seats on the Marathon City Council in November.

Eric Myrmel, William "Bill" F. Kelly and R. Daniel Zieg are seeking a spot on the council. Mayor Dick Ramsay will be termed out, while councilmen Chris Bull and John Bartus are eligible to seek re-election but have not yet filed for office. The deadline is noon Aug. 12.

Myrmel, who filed first, is the owner of Shoreline, an inflatable boat and engine repair business in Old Town. His Facebook page says he attended Baylor University. He did not return calls for comment.

Kelly, who filed May 6, has been an electrical contractor for 30 years and has served on the Monroe County Construction Licensing Board for 14 years. He currently chairs that board and has previously served as vice chair.

His primary goal, he said, is to get Marathon moving.

"City staff has been in trailers too long. We need to get going on city hall and not get distracted by things like the Sombrero Lighthouse light," he said. "We've been lucky a hurricane hasn't hit."

Bull recently proposed installing the lighthouse fresnel in the new city hall as a lobby centerpiece. The design of the hall, however, would have to be altered to accommodate the light.

Kelly said the city's building and permit process has improved since City Manager Mike Puto took the helm earlier this year.

"I had talked with [former manager] Roger Hernstadt about problems in that department, but although he was polite, he wasn't changing anything. The inspectors did not want to work with citizens," Kelly contends.

He said he'd like the permitting process to operate even more smoothly.

"I want people to go get a permit, and take care of liability issues and not use unlicensed contractors," he said. "If you make [the process] easier, they'll get permits."

Kelly said he is also concerned about the impact of vacation rental regulations on workforce housing.

"We made vacation rentals possible for seven days rather than 30 days," he said. "Now, we have hotels coming online and people are concerned about where employees are going to live. Affordable housing always needs to be kept in mind."

Zieg, who filed May 14, said the city is growing by leaps and bounds and, therefore, development must occur carefully. He, too, says affordable housing must be a priority.

"I've been concerned about affordable housing, especially as we're adding 400 hotel rooms," he said. "Where are the managers and employees and the necessary teachers and sheriff's deputies going to live? Plans have been irregular until now. Some developers have paid into an affordable housing fund; others have created great affordable housing as required by their projects.

"... I'd like to ensure provisions for the right fit of affordable housing in our city, especially in terms of considering the neighbors and surrounding development."

Zieg has served on Marathon's planning commission for four years and was first appointed by former councilwoman Ginger Snead and more recently by Ramsay. He said he is ready to give up his personal life and do his civic duty as a council member.

Zieg says voters sent a clear message last fall that they want new blood on the council by electing Mark Senmartin.

Zieg, a retired doctor, is the owner of a flat-coated golden retriever named Carly, which he adopted at a South Florida rescue center. He moved to Marathon full-time in 1997 after enjoying weekends at his first Keys home in Key Colony Beach 20 years ago.

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