Former Mayor Dick Ramsay left the dais on a round of applause at his final meeting.

“I want to say good bye. I want to say I’m not going anywhere. And I want to say thank you,” Ramsay said.

City staff played a short video produced by Conch Records of Ramsay reminiscing about his time in office. The other members of the council also praised him.

“You’ve had a lot of good ID-ers and I can say that you’re the best mayor I’ve ever served under,” said Mark Senmartin to a round of laughter.

After swearing in returning councilman Chris Bull and newcomers Dan Zieg and Bill Kelly, the quorum voted to elect Bull as mayor and Senmartin as vice mayor. The new council then went straight to business.

  • Bull and Senmartin made no changes to their board appointments. Zieg appointed Ramsay to the planning commission and Kelly appointed Jeff Smith to the same board. The council elected to hold off on two at-large appointments to the code board.
  • Mayor Bull asked city staff about finding a polling place for residents of Grassy Key, Conch Key and Duck Key. (Currently, those residents vote at a precinct in Marathon.) Supervisor of Elections Joyce Griffiths said she continues to look for a suitable spot. Neither the Conch Key fire station (no parking for disabled) or the Grassy Key fire station (only five parking spots) will suit.
  • The council tabled a proposal to end the Books lobbying contract until Zieg and Kelly can familiarize themselves with the firm’s work. Currently, the City of Marathon employs two lobbying firms in Tallahassee for an annual contract of $60,000 each.
  • A request for proposals for a construction manager, or firm, yielded nine queries. The top ranked firms were Chen Moore and Associates and David Douglas and Associates. The council agreed to negotiate with both firms due to the varied nature of upcoming projects from the construction of city hall to drainage projects or sewer projects. The council approved the rankings and told staff to proceed, with the proviso that the city attorney be involved in the negotiation process. Although not part of the resolution, Zieg urged staff to let the “construction manager have free reign over the project, with full oversight and no one looking over their back.”
  • The council approved the development agreement for the project planned for 73rd Street. (However, the council will make a formal vote at the second hearing, pending the approval of the conditional use permit.) The redevelopment of 33 existing units into 51 units was approved despite a small shortage of parking spaces. By code, there are 107 parking spaces required, but only 102 are planned.

“We think this is absolutely acceptable,” said Planning Director George Garrett. He said both the developer and a city staffer did research that suggests fewer parking spaces are needed in affordable rent developments such as this one. Garrett also emphasized that it is the developer’s responsibility to acquire the dozen or so building rights needed to complete the project.

Editor Sara Matthis thinks community journalism is important, but not serious; likes small and weird children (she has two); prefers target practice with a zombie rat poster; and looks best with saltwater dreads. Occasionally she tortures herself with sprint-distance triathlons, but only if she has a good chance of beating her sister.

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