Remember that movie, “Mars Attacks”? All the people in Vegas were gathered around to meet the alien visitors when suddenly the Martians opened fired with their ray-guns obliterating anyone within range. Right before the Martians attacked they said, “Don’t run. We are your friends.” The county’s behavior lately makes me think of that scene. I have a weird feeling that the county is about to nuke Key Largo…again. I hope I’m wrong. I hope it’s just a hangover from bad past experiences. Many, many bad experiences.
The county’s recent maneuverings are giving me a squicky feeling. They surprised the Key Largo Wastewater District commissioners with an early $1 million payment toward the swap agreement. That’s nice, I guess. But it’s totally out-of-character. The county has always been snooty and aloof. In the past, they’ve always treated Key Largo like an unwelcome, raggedy beggar interrupting their fancy dinner. “You want equitable funding? Ewww. Go away, filthy peasant.”
You would never know from the county’s attitude that Key Largo citizens are actually voters and taxpayers just like those in Cudjoe Regional or anywhere else in the unincorporated area. Key Largo, in fact, is the largest generator of the sales tax in the unincorporated area and the second largest in the Keys. Not that that should earn Key Largo special treatment, but fair treatment is certainly a reasonable expectation.
Against that backdrop, the county’s early delivery of a $1 million check is….bizarre. It’s like finding a pretzel in a bag of chips. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not what you expected. You start to wonder how it got in there – imagining all kinds of scenarios.
In fact, just a few short months ago the iPhone Bandit was frantically trying to find a way to worm out of the swap agreement. Now he’s showing up with a check all giggly with excitement? Like Ed McMahon from Publisher’s Clearinghouse. This does not compute. It has the feel of being staged and choreographed. To what end, I don’t know.
I have a couple of educated guesses.
- The county has done something very bad at the state level that we will find out about very soon. I’ll be scanning the horizon, looking for a mushroom cloud. They are not above flitting up to Tallahassee or Washington D.C. to work toward their own selfish purposes to the detriment of everyone else in the Keys. They have a track record of repeatedly doing exactly that. Perhaps they are trying to get a “nice guy” story in the paper to buffer themselves from the fall out. They absolutely hate being publicly called out on their crap, which is exactly why I love publicly calling them out on their crap.
- It has something to do with this Emergency Services Surtax (ESS) they’ve been pushing. It is an absolutely terrible idea for everyone in the Keys, except – you guessed it – the county. I suspect they were somehow involved in the recent rule relaxation regarding said tax. I can’t say for sure, of course, but it’s definitely something they would do. (See number 1.) They may be trying to hold the wastewater swap agreement hostage in order to get the ESS tax through. Maybe they’re trying to play the wastewater district against the fire district? Trying to make it harder for the fire district to object?
Those are my two main theories right now. There’s always the possibility that the county has seen the light and….HAHAHAHA. I’m sorry I couldn’t get through that entire sentence without laughing. Oh well, I suppose anything’s possible.
Whatever’s going on I’m sure it will become apparent soon enough. I’ll be here to decode, translate, demystify and debunk.