Marathon Politics: No Stickers for Contractors

Five weeks before the November election, Marathon’s City Council voted against charging contractors $50 to operate within city limits. According the city’s building official, Ron Wampler, Code Enforcement often receives “time consuming” reports of unlicensed work and there is no mechanism in place to cover the costs associated with investigation.

Months ago, the city administration, including the Building and Code Departments held meetings with the Florida Keys Contractors Association (FKCA) to determine a solution that would help crack down on unlicensed work while offsetting the costs associated with monitoring licensed and unlicensed contractors. 

The resolution Wampler presented to Council would add $50 fee for contractors to register with the city, but the FKCA opposed the resolution even after Wampler told the Council the FKCA endorsed the measure during the budget workshops.

“We are against this fee as stated in our letter in the newspapers,” said FKCA board member John Keller. “And we feel the revenue generated by this fee will be nowhere near the dollar amount you have stated in the paper.”

All council members admitted they thought they had the support of the FKCA and Wampler on this resolution.

“I was impression that the contractors were in behind this 100% and I am not sure where the communication broke down,” said Councilman Rich Keating, before the measure failed.

In other business:
The Hanley Property
“It is our opinion that the structure as it stands is not an unsafe structure,” said Mike Dolan, Vice President of W. Barnett Enterprises, an engineering firm based out of Tampa, FL retained by the attorney representing the estate.

“It’s an eyesore to the community,” said Councilman Pete Worthington. “And we need something done with it.” Marathon’s City Manager, Roger Hernstadt, was then directed to contact the attorney and facilitate a plan to improve the appearance of the property. 

The Business of Fire
The Council renewed an inter-local agreement with the Village of Islamorada to share the services of Fire Chief William Wagner III, directed staff to issue an RFP for the new Grassy Key Fire Station and explore options for a new ladder truck. 

The City is issuing an open solicitation for a new or slightly used 75’ – 100’ ladder truck to replace the old truck. “It is a great opportunity, because of the economy, there are a lot of new trucks sitting in fields that people had to pull off their orders,” Wagner said. “We actually seeing new trucks with very little mileage on there for $250,000-$300,000 cheaper than what they were actually built for.”

The Fire Chief and City Manager also reported the survey for the Grassy Key Fire Station is complete and that the Council will be provided with construction and configuration options so they could “make a business decision on how to proceed with the final design and subsequent date,” said Hernstadt.

$25,000 Wastewater Rate Study
The Council authorized a contract with Public Resources Management Group, Inc. for $25,000 to sift through wastewater/stromwater costs based on the city’s EDUs. 

“When we sit as a utility board sometime early next year, hopefully we can lower every monthly bill about $5 – $8 for every EDU,” justified Vice Mayor Mike Cinque.

Marathon City Council will meet next on Tuesday, October 12.

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