Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Assessments, water access on council agenda

MARATHON -- In conjunction with government budget season, some assessment approvals were expected to come before the Marathon City Council at its meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 12. The meeting took place after press time.

The council was to consider a resolution for an annual wastewater service assessment to pay for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the wastewater utility's facilities, programs and collection and treatment services in service areas 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 .

Also up for approval was an annual stormwater utility special assessment of $120 per equivalent residential unit for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Additionally, a resolution to increase the hourly legal fee by $17.67 of the city's contracted legal firm, GrayRobinson, which would make the total hourly fee $200, was on the agenda. The firm has not increased its fee for 10 years, according to Lynn Dannheisser, city attorney.

Also on the agenda was a discussion about creating an affordable housing task force committee. At its last meeting, council candidate Dan Zieg asked the council to consider a workforce housing committee to work with the county, which drew comments of support.

At the time, Councilman Mark Senmartin and Mayor Dick Ramsay asked that the subject be put on the subsequent agenda for discussion and possible appointment.

Also, at the last meeting, Ramsay asked that an item be placed on the agenda regarding highway beautification and questioned why the Monroe County Tourist Development Council grant for a foot bridge across the canal at Oceanfront Park did not come before council for approval before going to TDC.

Ramsay said he would have liked to see a small boat ramp instead, which he said is needed on the ocean. Vice Mayor Chris Bull agreed, adding the council was supposed to have a community discussion before the grant request went to the TDC.

Another agenda item concerned water access from city rights-of-way. Marathon has a large number of public streets that end at the waters' edge. In some cases, residents use these rights-of-way to launch motorized watercraft.

"While the access is used primarily by city residents," wrote Carlo Solis, director of public works, "it is the properties at the end of the street that deal with the noise and nuisance caused by this activity, as evident by a recent complaint.

"Also, there is no method to control the access by non-residents. Staff is requesting that the City Council discuss the water access issue and provide direction to staff to establish a policy to be used citywide."

The council also was expected to give input on the floor plans of the new city hall and how offices may be laid out. City Manager Mike Puto said the council will have 60 percent of the design plans by Aug. 8.

On the political front, Zieg, Eric Myrmel, William Kelly III and former mayor Mike Cinque have qualified to run for three seats on the City Council in November. Bull and Trish Hintze had filed for office but had not yet qualified as of Monday.

The qualification period ended at noon Tuesday. For the latest election information, visit keys-elections.org.

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