In an effort to provide greater familiarity and communication between the nine Marathon City Council candidates and our readers, the Marathon Weekly sent each prospective council member a series of questions concerning their backgrounds and stances on pressing city issues. The Marathon Weekly will continue to print each candidate’s responses in a Q&A series leading up to the election. Be on the lookout for a candidate forum co-sponsored by the Keys Weekly and Marathon Chamber of Commerce, set for Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. Readers who have questions they would like to see answered by Marathon City Council, U.S. House of Representatives or Florida House of Representatives candidates may submit them to [email protected] for potential inclusion.
Answers are printed exactly as submitted by candidates, with responses limited to 100 words.
This week’s question: What is one issue for Marathon residents that you feel has not received an appropriate amount of attention thus far and should be addressed?
Many issues deserve more attention such as development regulation, increased investment in community resources like education, boat ramps, parks/beaches, a community pool, infrastructure hardening and preparing for climate change impacts, mental health/homelessness facilities, and more resources for enforcement agencies, but these issues all pale in comparison to the attention our natural resources require. There is a little known but devastating mass-extinction unfolding on the reef as I write this. We all depend on this unique environment in one way or another. We must protect it properly for the sake of our economy, our future, and our children’s futures.
I believe our permitting system has not only failed all of us, including contractors but especially local families. There are a lot of red flags surrounding the building department as a whole. Having to donate over $18,000.00 plus donate land in order to compete in BPAS to obtain a new building permit should make every local question our leadership. They say they are here for locals but appear to make it harder on us and easier on developers and investors.
Our city dying as a hometown community is the largest issue that has not been addressed. This death is due to many different factors. Some may not be solvable but many other issues can be resolved and we can breath life back into Marathon as a hometown community again.
Environmental, growth management and infrastructure needs are being addressed. One area of concern that has not been a focal point is fiscal oversight and thorough financial analysis behind policy decisions. The proposed City budget should be a concern for all the residents, the growth in expenditures and tax burdens require sound reasoning and forethought. A proposed 19% increase in property tax revenue and 28% increase in expenditures merits discussion. In a time where our businesses and residents face economic challenges, fiscal restraint and improved financial planning processes will provide needed clarity when evaluating policy directives.
We need more incentives which promote a stronger economy and overall resources in our city. We need to explore programs which would incentivize employers to provide childcare credits to employees. We need tax incentives which promote long term rentals. Most of our residents want nothing more than to work hard, enjoy our beautiful island, and raise their families. As a city, we need to focus on programming that would benefit these goals and at the same time would strengthen businesses and the workforce. I intend to develop and promote incentive programs through our city.
Our citizen’s voices are not being addressed we need open communication with our locals. Changing from one meeting a month to two meetings would be a prudent start. Also putting the Council’s agendas into Layman’s Terms, English, and Spanish would definitely help to understand what is going on in the City.
Vacation rentals are always a topic of discussion in the city. We need to hire more code enforcement to enforce the ordinances we have for vacation rentals.
While there has been a vast amount of new housing built since IRMA, it has not solved our workforce housing problem. To resolve this issue will not be easy and it will require a bold and darning plan that focuses directly on this issue! My plan is to present a new idea with the creation of “Marathon Housing & Finance Authority” which will be my initial step in resolving the on-going housing issues for our local residents. While execution of my plan will be challenging, when funded and structured, it will be a success and I will discuss the plan in more detail during the campaign!
Marathon’s unbridled growth over the past 10 years forces us to pause and reassess where we are. That includes the number and density of vacation rental permits issued moving forward. The city needs better growth balance; the ability to deliver residents adequate services and infrastructure while managing through extensive growth.
As evidenced by the bridge condition on Coco Plum Dr., the City also needs to more proactively enlist FDOT’s help to ensure all bridges in the City are sound. This same consideration must be similarly applied to aging residential and commercial structures, as per the City’s updated building re-certification standards.