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I’m at the County Commission in Marathon. The commissioners agreed, Mayor Sylvia Murphy and George Neugent dissenting, to delete the grinder pump item because the outlying areas contractor did not get good figures to Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority in time for this meeting. The contractor is taking two weeks off for Christmas, but perhaps he can get numbers together while his crews are taking the holiday off. I am signed up to speak to the Seven Mile Bridge renovation. The county is picking up a small part of the cost $18,000,000, the state and Marathon the rest – $78,000,000. I am not comfortable saying this renovation should not proceed, because Seven Mile Bridge was a world wonder when it was built, and it still is one in my mind. Many people use it each year, going out to Pigeon Key and back. I feel this should continue. However, I also feel the County Commission needs to get the lower Keys grinder pump dispute straightened out. Looks to me, on grinder pumps the Commission is headed toward being modern day Pearl Harbor Lookouts.
I also feel they need to get on cleaning up what I think I recall are 500 polluted canals in the Keys, which are causing serious problems. I feel the Commission should make that the next project for the 1 percent sales tax. For a fact, the sea and the reef are the Keys’ real asset. As the sea and the reef go, the Keys go.
Maybe more later today.
When I spoke to the Seven Mile Bridge restoration item, I said, for those who do not recognize me, I’m in the witness protection program. Laughter on the dais and throughout the audience. I said renovation of Seven Mile Bridge absolutely should be approved and I will drop dead from shock if all commissioners do not approve it.
George Neugent said, “Vote no, Danny”. Lots of laughter.
Commissioner Danny Kolhage told me to head for the emergency room. Lots more laughter.
I said I hope in the future the County Commission and top level county staff will be as diligent with future major projects as they were with Seven Mile Bridge. I said they are facing a major disaster in Cudjoe regional sewer district, which will sink the county. So maybe having three weeks to rethink that — Sylvia Murphy interrupted me, said I had to stick to the topic — I said the same money paying for Seven Mile Bridge is paying for Cudjoe regional. So, maybe it’s a good thing they have three weeks to rethink it. And there is another big project, 500 polluted canals, which needs to be dealt with. The sea and the reef are the Keys’ real asset, as they go, the Keys go. Everyone here knows that. End of my comments.
Jason Koler, Publisher of the Weekly papers, then said Ed Swift and Sloan had said what he wanted to say, so he would not come to the citizen speaker’s station.
Danny Kolhage just got through voting no. 4-1.
The vote was conceptual approval, based on what is known. It was not a final vote.
Danny said he is not comfortable with the direction the county is going spending its money. During the break, I walked over to Danny and said I respect him sticking to his guns, I always have. He said all the people in the standing room only audience in favor of the renovation of Old Seven do not affect him. I said I know that, and Sylvia not liking what I had said did not affect me. Danny nodded.
Somebody needed to get Cudjoe regional before the public today. Surprising, given the email chatter yesterday between the anti-grinder pump camp copied to me, there was talk between them of using the Seven Mile Bridge item to get something in about Cudjoe regional, I was the only one and I don’t even live in Cudjoe regional.
From the ER room.