This week several representatives from Monroe County met with state officials in Tallahassee regarding a number of issues ranging from the Restore Act funding to the Mayfield sewer grant money. Last year the legislature removed the promised funding, earmarked for wastewater installation, from the state budget.
This year Monroe County and local municipalities are more optimistic.
“The $50 million dollars looks good,” said Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi. The Keys delegation scheduled a meeting with the governor’s chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth and when the governor learned of it, he joined in on the discussion.
“We expressed our gratitude for his support of the old 7 Mile Bridge rehabilitation,” Gastesi said, adding that he hopes Scott will visit the Keys when crews break ground on the project.
Gastesi, County Commissioner George Neugent and Marathon Mayor Dick Ramsay all suggested the recent shower of benefits for Monroe County was due in part to the hard work and diligence of Holly Raschein, Monroe County’s State Representative.
“She is just an unbelievable asset up there for the Florida Keys,” Ramsay said. The Marathon mayor also backed up Gastesi’s optimism for the $50 million.
“Everyone was impressed about our interlocal agreement,” he said. According to Ramsay the second pot of $200 million Mayfield grant is promised for the municipalities including the Key Largo Wastewater District.
“The wastewater stuff is a no-brainer,” Raschein told The Weekly. “I am talking to everyone I know about how massive it is because ours is not a typical project. It’s expensive.”
Raschein was responsible for setting up the meetings with various committee chairs, so officials like Margaret Blank and Steve Gibbs from the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District could personally explain their case.
“It was so great to have everyone up here,” Raschein added. “I am amazed at the spirit of cooperation and I am so proud to represent the Keys.”
Monroe County residents will have another chance to lobby state legislators on March 25 during Florida Keys Day. For more information contact Raschein’s office at 305-453-1202 or find Florida Keys Day on Facebook.