Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Council moves forward with capital projects

MARATHON -- The Marathon City Council met twice last week to pass wastewater and stormwater assessments and increase the contracted city attorney's pay to $200 per hour.

A million-dollar contract to oversee wastewater operations and maintenance in service areas 3, 4 and 5 also passed.

A discussion last week about Oceanfront Park's improvements led to a split council. But ultimately staff's design of a boardwalk ramp and observation platform prevailed at the park located behind City Hall near 98th Street.

Plans for the new city hall had been revised to accommodate the Sombrero Lighthouse lens. However, the lighthouse transfer from Key West and subsequent replacement by the Sand Key Light currently in Maryland has stalled due to cost concerns.

The lampist's fee to review the condition of Sand Key light required expert research over several days plus a written report and would have cost almost double the $9,250 budget that council had allocated.

"Modifying the [city hall] plans in the event we obtain the light was a priority," Vice Mayor Chris Bull said. "In the meantime, we can put in a cultural and historic display while taking the time to solicit private donations and grants [for the Sombrero light]."

In other action, the council agreed last week to send out a request for proposals for management oversight services for about $30 million in capital projects it has planned for the coming years. While most projects will be design-build, a designated city representative was deemed responsible to ensure the projects' success.

Among upcoming projects is the Aviation Boulevard bicycle path, which has a $2.3 million budget and is expected to be completed in 2017. The project depends heavily on Florida Department of Transportation funds, which are meted out in amounts up to $1 million per year. Last year, the project was ranked second in FDOT's budget but funding was unavailable, said Bull.

The local funding, in contrast, is $200,000 a year for two years. Marathon residents can expect a workshop on the project's design in mid-September.

Meanwhile, emergency repaving repairs to the bike path totaling $190,000 have been allocated for this year. The repaving would work in the overall plan and not be a waste of funds, Bull said.

The council meets next on Tuesday, Aug. 26.

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