The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) held its monthly meeting Thursday at the Murray Nelson Government Center in Key Largo. Below are some highlights:
Monroe County Mayor Sylvia Murphy and the Board of County Commissioners proclaimed March 2019 as Professional Firefighters of Monroe County Appreciation Month. The proclamation was brought forward from the Muscular Dystrophy Association for its appreciation of the group’s support of the nonprofit.
Monroe County Library System Marathon Branch:
The BOCC approved a contract to Pedro-Falcon Construction for the construction of the new Monroe County library branch in Marathon. The $7 million construction is funded through the one-cent infrastructure sales tax. The new modern design offers open, flexible spaces. The tentative ground breaking will take place in about two months.
“It’s important to have a flexible space with how quickly technology can change,” said Monroe County Strategic Planner Kimberly Matthews, who is also a former public library administrator. “The space will be user-focused with a robust collection of materials in every format.”
The design also includes the incorporation of solar energy. “This is the right thing to do moving into the future,” said Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi.
Attached: The artist’s rendition of the Monroe County Library System Marathon branch design that was approved at the March 2019 BOCC meeting.
Hurricane Irma Update:
Director of Budget and Finance Tina Boan presented the Hurricane Irma recovery finance report. As of the 18-month mark since Hurricane Irma, $50 million has been submitted for reimbursement. $32 million has been validated by FEMA for the State to verify and reimburse to the County. Of the already obligated, $9.4 million has been approved by the State for distribution. As of today’s meeting, $7 million has been received by Monroe County in reimbursements. For the detailed budget report on Hurricane Irma financials, visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/hurricaneirma.
Also, County Administrator Roman Gastesi received word from the Kevin Guthrie, Deputy Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, that Guthrie will sign a letter supporting the reimbursement of the $6.5 million that the County appealed regarding the denial of the base camp funding after the hurricane.
Regarding the $40 million line of the credit the County took to offset the upfront costs of Hurricane Irma, Clerk of Court Kevin Madok said the County is in the position to make a $5 million payment to the line of credit. “As additional FEMA obligations and checks come in, as offset by additional hurricane expenditures, will determine the speed in which the County can make payments in the future,” he said.
Monroe County Director of Disaster Recovery Helene Wetherington did a presentation at the meeting on workforce housing and recovery after Hurricane Irma. As of March 21, 1,178 total Florida Keys applicants have registered with Rebuild Florida. The deadline to apply is March 29, 2019. For those still needing to apply, visit www.rebuildflorida.com. Close to 500 individuals in Monroe County are in the application process with Rebuild Florida. She also updated the commissioners on mobile home park acquisitions which were damaged by Hurricane Irma, construction of new rental workforce housing, funding opportunities for the business and tourism sector, funding for infrastructure, the long-term recovery strategy, and the tiny home construction projects. To see the presented PowerPoint or for more information on disaster recovery, visit www.monroecounty-fl.com/hurricaneirma.
New Job Site Cameras Introduced to the Public:
Web and cellular-based job site construction cameras were debuted to the Commission and the public by Monroe County Project Management Director Cary Knight at today’s meeting. The job site cameras are solar powered and upload images to a cloud-based system every minute. Images are assembled within the cloud to create a time-lapse video of the construction site. A public interface web page allows time-lapse video and images to be viewed from the cloud. County staff can view the site in real time with streaming high definition video or on-demand historical surveillance video from start to finish of the project.
“This allows the engineers to monitor and document the project site,” said Knight. “This type of technology has been immensely valuable already with negotiating change orders. We can now see how many truckloads of material are brought in, how much time is spent on the site, weather delays, job safety, and conformance to design specifications. Our intention is to have these cameras documenting construction on all major or sensitive capital projects."
The Cudjoe Key Fire Department project can be followed at www.monroecounty-fl.gov/projectmanagement. There will also be two cameras installed at the Plantation Key Courthouse project and one for the Marathon library project when they start.