District Issues – Citizen Weighs In

I know sewer is boring for most people.  But in the Keys, at least, it is a major pocketbook issue.  Definitely for some much more than others.  It’s one of those things that you just have to pay attention to or it’s going to cost you.  So I’m always really happy when I see citizens weighing in on the issue.

In today’s Free Press there is a letter from Carolyn Holmes.  She says…

Before any thought of “privatizing” the plant is entertained, a chance for the people to decide their fate may again be in order.

Two seats are up for re-election in 2016 – Robby Majeska and Steve Gibbs.  Majeska is running for the Board of County Commissioners.  So far, nobody has filed to run for the wastewater board seats.  But it’s very early yet.  So the voters will have plenty of time to make their wishes known.

Here’s my understanding of what the “privatization” issue is all about.  The District has had some trouble retaining qualified technical staff lately.  Some of the commissioners are concerned about where this might lead.  One proposed solution is to turn the operation of the treatment plant and the collections system over to an operating company.

There have been several letters claiming Key Largo pays more for its wastewater than any other community in the Keys. A skeptic like me tends to believe it. Nothing but denials and accusations from board members.

Yes, believe it.  Key Largo pays more for its wastewater system than any other unincorporated area.  (Islamorada and Marathon pay even more, but some of that is offset by the sales tax that they receive directly.)  This is because the county hasn’t funded the Key Largo project to nearly the same extent as the other projects in the unincorporated area.  Key Largo has received $100 million less from Monroe County despite serving half the customers in the unincorporated area.

The District’s accounting firm prepared a report on the subject in November 2014.  Haven’t seen any updates on the subject from the District or the County.  As far as I know, this is the latest.

If those denials are coming from the wastewater board, then the ratepayers are in trouble.

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