PLANTATION KEY, FL – Since Category 4 Hurricane Irma struck on Sept. 10, 2017, more than 2.2 million cubic yards of hurricane debris – both vegetative and construction/demolition (C&D) – and more than 18,854 destroyed white goods (large appliances) have been removed along roads throughout the Florida Keys.
As Monroe County stares down a hurricane recovery bill thought of to be in excess of $100,000 million, officials began debating three radical concepts to dispose of the hurricane-related debris.
At a recent county commission meeting, Plantation Key resident Hugo Lemonjello outlined his plan in 30 seconds.
“It’s a three prong approach that takes special consideration for the arts, history and our environment,” he said.
Holding a simple manila folder above his head, Lemonjello said, “This will secure your political future. And I am about to put it right in your lap.”
As county administrator Roman Gastesi sprang from his seat, lunging for the folder, Lemonjello pulled it away before launching into his manifesto.
With the state footing the bill for the canal cleanups, residents should take advantage of the spaces to dispose of their hurricane related debris.
“No more dragging fences, trees, sofas, and drywall to the curb. Just toss it right in your canal.”
He also suggested using historic Fort Jefferson as a huge burn pile.
“It’s a huge fire ring. Just imagine all the tourists toting their marshmallows and hot dog sticks out to the Dry Tortugas.”
A county-wide art festival featuring repurposed hurricane debris.
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Shit. With TDC funding this could be a bigger windfall than the Deepwater Horizon.”
And Lemonjello’s proposals did not fall on deaf ears.
“I wasn’t on this commission for the Labor Day hurricane, but I have been through all the rest,” said County Commissioner George Neugent. “And this is the best damn idea I have heard since Mario proposed buying the Hickory House.”
Commissioner Heather Carruthers agreed. “I am not sure its logistically possible to haul 2.2 million pounds out to the Tortugas, but I do know those bricks could withstand the heat.”
“I’ll do whatever George does,” concurred Rice.
The lone dissenter, Danny Kohlage simply said, “No.”
Commissioner Murphy also expressed doubts, but eventually acquiesced. “I just wonder what Mr. Lemonjello is going to get out of this deal.”
“All I want to hear is, ‘You’re welcome,’” said Lemonjello.
Gastesi then assigned 18 people from the Building Department to hire an outside firm to find a consultant who would conduct a feasibility study to present at the next county commission meeting on April 1.