Marathon’s hard-working beautification committee brought some good news to the table Tuesday evening during the city council’s regularly scheduled meeting.
Peter Chapman and Curtis Tookes, the city’s grants coordinator, appeared before the council to request funding for new signage to replace existing signs welcoming drivers to the city.
Chapman reported that the newly constructed signs, coming with a price tag of just under $3,000, have received endorsement from the Chamber of Commerce and local business community. They will replace the current worn and faded signs now erected at the foot of the 7-Mile Bridge and Tom’s Harbor Bridge.
“All the vendors involved in this project are working at cost to save the city money,” Chapman explained, adding that Signs by Renee and Randy Mearns at Marathon Electric have donated in-kind services.
Councilwoman Ginger Snead said she took issue with the fact that the proposed design read “Islands of Marathon” instead of “City of Marathon.”
“People may tend to associate that too closely with Islamorada,” Snead said.
Councilman Dick Ramsay said though he’d like to see a bigger sign that would undoubtedly cost more money, the city simply did not have extra cash readily available in the budget.
“I applaud everyone for their efforts, dedication and service,” Ramsay said of both the committee and the local business people involved.
“This is a great first step in marketing the city the way we plan to,” said Vice Mayor Don Vasil.
Before approving the preliminary design, council members asked City Manager Clyde Burnett if there is funding available for such a project.
“We’ll dig it out somewhere,” he confirmed.
In other news:
• Interim Code Compliance Supervisor Cynthia McPherson was honored for five years of service and employment with the city. After her award presentation, Burnett announced McPherson’s promotion to the permanent position.
• Members of the Monroe County Fire and Emergency Rescue Services accompanied Chief William Wagner in helping the council proclaim Oct. 4-10 Fire Prevention Week.
• Chris Bull of the Marathon Youth Soccer program appeared before the council to proclaim September Youth Soccer Month in the city.
• The council introduced three separate ordinances for discussion. The first two ordinance amendments concerned the private transfer of EDUs and creating a way for businesses that exist to serve the good of the community, like the Maytag Coin Laundromat recently damaged by fire, to receive assistance from the city in connection with the EDU assessments on their property.
• The third ordinance proposed limiting the chaining or tethering of dogs. Snead sponsored the ordinance, adding that animal officer Linda Gottwald had been unable thus far to enforce the county’s ordinance against the practice within the city limits. “We worked hard in the county to get this law adopted, and I hope to see it adopted by the city as well,” Gottwald said after recounting an incident in which a dog that was chained outside recently died of a heat stroke.
• After winnowing down the list of more than 2,000 open building permits, the council approved a resolution to issue 26 new building permits, 13 of which go towards the construction of new affordable units. “This will be a definite improvement over last year,” said Planning Director George Garrett.
• The council approved a continuing services agreement with the Middle Keys Community Land Trust, which Garrett says greatly helps city staff’s efforts in improving the affordable housing stock. “This contract is paramount to having affordable housing,” Snead said, adding that she hoped to increase interaction and communication with the MKCLT as the efforts moved forward.
• Council approved an agreement to continue a financial services agreement with Bishop, Rosasco and Company.
Council members got a sneak peek at the logo submissions for the city’s upcoming 10-year celebration. Each cast their vote for their favorite logo, and the committee will soon unveil the winner.
Interim Code Compliance Supervisor Cynthia McPherson was recognized for five years of employment with the City of Marathon. Following her award, City Manager Clyde Burnett announced she’d been promoted to the permanent position.
Chris Bull and members of the Marathon AYSO Soccer League received the September is Soccer Month Proclamation. On hand for the presentation were Arno Silva, Aaron Sipe, Layla Sipe, Logan Sipe, Seth Landry, Lindsay Bull, Regan Durkin, Evan Patterson, TJ Patterson and Ariana Patterson.