KEY LARGO, FL – The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners met for their monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at the Murray Nelson Government & Cultural Center in Key Largo. Here are some of the highlights:
APPROVED NEW LOCAL DISASTER RECOVERY DEPARTMENT
The Commission approved a resolution to create a Local Disaster Recovery Department to help the County in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The Commission also confirmed the appointment of Helene Wetherington as the Recovery Department’s Director for a two-year period. Wetherington is a senior level Emergency Manager with 24 years of international, federal, state, local and consulting experience in emergency preparedness, response, recovery and long-term redevelopment.
This position is funded by a grant from the Federal Economic Development Administration and a matching grant from the Miami Foundation. Both grants are for two years.
The Recovery Department also will include a Housing Recovery Administrator.
APPROVED RESOLUTION FOR MUNICIPAL SERVICE TAXING UNIT FOR FISHERMEN’S HOSPITAL
The Commission approved a resolution of support for the collection of property taxes for reimbursement of indigent healthcare costs incurred by Fishermen’s Hospital. This will be done through a municipal service taxing unit (MSTU). Next month, a public hearing will be held to adopt an ordinance to create the MTSU without the need for a referendum. The MSTU would be from the south end of Long Key Bridge (Mile Marker 66 on U.S. 1) to the Seven Mile Bridge. It would potentially raise about $1.5 million per year for 10 years.
DIRECTED COUNTY STAFF TO PRIORITIZE NEW PLANTATION KEY COURTHOUSE COMPLEX PROJECT
The Commission directed County staff to prioritize the construction of a new Plantation Key Courthouse Complex, which was approved by the Commission in 2014. The Commission directed County staff to negotiate a Guaranteed Maximum Price with the Construction Manager at Risk (Biltmore Construction CO., INC.) by the BOCC’s September 2018 meeting. It also directed staff to have a Notice to Proceed request ready by the same meeting. The goal is to have the project start in the fall with the demolition of old buildings and other necessary preparation of the site. That will be followed by a 24-month construction phase of the new complex, which will include a courthouse and detention center.
APPROVED SETTLEMENT TO RECEIVE $925,000 FROM BANKRUPT MARINE MAMMAL CONSERVANCY
The Commission approved a settlement to receive $925,000 (100% of two mortgage final judgments and 67.5% of the fine amounts for code violation cases) from the now bankrupt nonprofit Marine Mammal Conservancy (MMC) at 102200 Overseas Highway in Key Largo. The settlement calls for the payment to be made in full by Sept. 30, 2018.
MMC provided assurances that the property would only be used to further the organization’s mission. Upon payment in full, the County would consider all of its claims satisfied.
If the $925,000 was not timely paid, the County would have the right to credit bid its full $1,119,472 claim at an auction of the MMC property to occur no later than Nov. 30, 2018, with closing no later than Dec. 21, 2018.
APPROVED STEPS TO MOVE FORWARD ON A NEW EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER PROJECT
Monroe County currently uses the Marathon Government Center as a makeshift Emergency Operations Center in times of emergency. It proved to be grossly inadequate during Hurricane Irma.
The County has been working on a project to build an EOC on property at the County-owned Florida Keys Marathon International Airport. The County has been lining up funding for a new EOC that will not require using County infrastructure funds. This funding is through a $5.9 million 2018 direct grant from the state Legislature, $10.5 million in Department of Transportation grants for airports, and a $10 million grant request from the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
As part of the process, the Commission on Wednesday approved advertising a Request for Qualifications for: professional architectural services; a construction manager at risk; and construction, engineering and inspection services.