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1) Vacation Rentals and their effect on Workforce homes,
Currently the State has “pre-empted” the municipalities throughout the state, tying all of our hands in the ability to shape how we deal with the newer landscape of Vacation Rentals. They have, in Marathon, kept the city going during the economic downturn, however recent Legislative actions give ALL property rights to the VR owner, rather than those of their neighbors. Couple that with the affordable housing situation “Post Irma”. This is an almost unsolvable issue for the short term. Property values are high and going higher. This is good for property owners, (Workforce and VR) but tough on folks that need to have a more affordable option in the short term or long term renting. This will be a very long term correction, if at all.
2) The FEMA reimbursement (Lack there of) issue. We spent our 6 month reserve in 2 weeks after Irma. 2+ years later we are still waiting for $32 Million
1) We are currently lobbying FLorida Legislature and working on bills to carve out Monroe County (as an State of Florida Area of Critical Concern.) from the generic statute limiting our ability to tweak or modify our codes for Vacation Rentals. I/We will continue to push for more Home Rule in general but certainly for the Property Rights Bill. I really dont have a clear plan for making affordable workforce homes more affordable. Lame, but honest.
2) We are working to bring home the money we are owed. Sadly FEMA works at a snails pace, and the FL-Dept of Emergency Mgmt. must audit the Project worksheets in order to pay us. The previous admin had a 100% audit policy meaning no reimbursement until audit completion. Then Hurricane Micheal... We are struggling to stay in the RADAR of the check writers. We have great relationships with the new FDEM director and Gov DiSantis. Now is not the time for new faces.
Privet Fire Prevention
I see the two top concerns for marathon are
The building Dept currently needs tweaking. The department has lost touch with the contractors in town and the process is backed up at the city causing delaying in plan review. Customer service needs to be improved across the board.
The FEMA reimbursement is another top concern the “ check is in the mail” excuse is getting old. While the city is rebuilding its reserves it needs to get this money back to replenish the reserves. Then build them stronger, incase we are hit with another hurricane down the road ( which hopefully we don’t ).
I would address these concerts by
Work with the contractors association to setup workshops with them and city staff, to work on becoming more customer service friendly. Listen to both sides in the same room and work as a team to streamline issues on both sides of the fence. We are all in this as a team so why not work together as one ?
Work with local, county, state representatives to put more pressure on the system to get the money back in our reserves. The squeaky wheel gets the grease right? Keep on these groups until they are sick of hearing from us!
Bealls outlet store manager
Truly affordable housing and working with the city manager and city attorney to enforce our ordinances
Well The City of Marathon did a study on workforce housing I think we need to revisit that and move forward with some of the ideas and thoughts behind the findings and working with the city manager we need to hire another code enforcement agent and let them work to keep the city ordinances
1. I am trying to make affordable housing a reality.
2. The Building Department has a great staff of people, but there needs to be a faster way to get permits out the door.
1. For affordable housing, no more votes for $2800 a month housing projects. Builders must commit to a reasonable rate of rent before they get my approval.
2. I would like to see a one day walk through for simple permits such as fences, ac units, and pools. This would alleviate the backlog of permits.
Certainly the top two concerns are workforce housing and FEMA reimbursement. The workforce housing issue we have addressed better than anyone else in Monroe County in the past few years as we have a number of projects coming out of the ground and a number of projects still in the planning stage, but all have been approved by the city Council. We are waiting for 300 more housing units from the state and have already committed to 260 of those units to planned projects. On 1 Nov the workforce project at Keys Boatworks breaks ground for 62 units.
FEMA reimbursement is an entirely separate issue and in fact we helped the new governor and his staff to address the reimbursement process so that the victims of hurricane Michael in the panhandle have received as much as 70 to 75% of their claims already based on the information that we learned from Irma and shared with governor DeSantis staff. We continue to work hard with our representatives in Tallahassee to secure our funding reimburseme
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