Update: The letter is online at the Blue Paper now, too. And, yes, of course I commented. Can’t help myself.
Lawyers can be very silly and melodramatic sometimes. They must learn it in school.
A few weeks back the County released a statement regarding the most recent lawsuit filed by two property owners in Cudjoe Regional. I wrote about it here. According to the county’s attorney, Cynthia Hall, the plaintiffs want to delay the project because they object to the “efficient, cost-effective” design. Ha! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
So why do these property owners hate “efficient, cost-effective” designs so much? Who knows? The county would like us to believe they’re just plain evil I guess.
If you actually read the complaint, it’s easy to see the plaintiffs aren’t nearly as diabolical as the county’s laughably over-the-top statement has made them out to be. They are simply asking that the grinder pump be placed in the right-of-way rather than in an easement on their property. Why is this considered such an outlandish request?
The plaintiff’s cite a county rule that says the following:
Private property; properties under one ownership. For private property or contiguous properties under one ownership with one or more EDUs that in total has a cumulative estimated wastewater flow of less than 1,000 gallons per day:
(1) The utility shall provide a means of connection within the public right-of-way, whether by vacuum pit or other, that abuts the property and that can be accessed via a gravity system; or
(2) At the request of the property owner, the utility shall provide a connection to the utility system at the public right-of-way line that abuts the property for the property owner to extend onto his property a collection system that is compatible with the utility system and meets the minimum utility design standards.
There’s absolutely nothing in the rule that requires a property owner to grant an easement. In fact, the rule emphatically states that the connection shall be placed in the right-of-way. It doesn’t sound to me like this lawsuit is frivolous or without merit. What does the “partnership” have to gain by forcing these property owners to grant them an easement when there is a feasible alternative?
How does asking the “partnership” to put the pump station in one location rather than another delay the project? How does this request demonstrate a hatred of all things “efficient and cost-effective”? If anyone despises an “efficient and cost-effective project” it’s the county. When was the last time one of their capital projects came in under budget? If the county has a valid argument, then they ought to make it. They sound like they’ve completely lost their minds with all this name-calling and saber-rattling.
One could certainly argue that providing the easement is to the property owners’ financial benefit. After all, the closer the grinder pump station is to the building the lower the cost to the property owner to tie in. Presumably, these two property owners have done the math and have decided they don’t want the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) on their property. It’s simply not worth it to them. It looks to me like the law is on their side.
Once again, I’m left wondering how things got to this point. Why can’t the “partnership” manage to keep themselves out of court?
There was a letter in support of the plaintiffs in the Citizen yesterday. Nice to hear another point of view.
Doesn’t anyone realize that the FKAA has NO say in the game. The FKAA is a CONTRACTOR. The FKAA is employed by Monroe County and the Monroe County BOCC,under contract, and can be Fired,Period. The Monroe county owns the system and if anyone would be attempting to Extort your property away from you it would be the Monroe County BOCC but because of the untouchable nature of the FKAA the BOCC directed the FKAA to attempt that property extortion. Just IGNORE anything the FKAA has to say. Let the sewer OWNERS do the talking. OBTW pay the extra to have your septic tank converted to a cistern. Then when Monroe Counties Miracle sewer system goes down the shitter you can re-connect and still flush.
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Yes, the FKAA is a contractor. But the county doesn’t treat them like a contractor. There is zero oversight. The FKAA gives the BOCC a number and the BOCC writes a check. There’s no independent verification. There’s no due diligence. The county constantly refers to the FKAA as their “partner”. It’s totally inappropriate.
It’s all Bull Poop. A Contractor (Can be Fired for No reason) A partner can’t. But Here’s the hitch. The Clerk of The Court SHALL have the authority to Reject any bills presented for payment IF they are suspect of impropriety. ??Is our current Clerk of the Court doing Her JOB or just rubber stamping Their partners(sic.) bills??? I retired from FKAA where the principle of When in doubt Manipulate the Data is sometimes the Soup d Jour. Does Anyone believe anything that comes out of the mouth of the BOCC. History Has shown that they’re habitual Lyers.
Yes, the FKAA is a contractor and yes, the FKAA can be fired. But the county refers to the FKAA as their “partner” all the time. Totally inappropriate. I’ve caught the FKAA in some real whoppers. Read my stuff on Toppino and Big Coppitt. I’ve also caught the county in some real whoppers. Read anything on the Emergency Services Surtax or anything with “Monkey Math” in the title. I would love to see the Clerk take a magnifying glass to the “partnership’s” procurement process when it comes to the wastewater projects. Unfortunately, I don’t know if the office has the resources to do that right now. Keep this in mind, too, the current clerk took over from a well-connected, free-spending bubba who now serves on the county commission. Big Coppitt took place entirely on his watch. The BOCC is going to fight any attempt to take a close look into their affairs. Two pro-bubba candidates have filed to run. I feel very strongly that if one of them wins, we will never get to the bottom of all this.
Sir, Monroe County and the BOCC are POLITICAL entities and they can say whatever they want but whatever comes out of their MEDIA mouth is only Political Rhetoric i.e. Bull Shit. They can call the FKAA their redheaded step-son if they choose, but the FKAA was “Contracted” to design, install, and operate the CRWS for money Period. If the BOCC’s Media voice calls them partner does that constitute a Legal Partnership?? No. Therefore I have chosen to ignore the correspondence coming from FKAA and have been advised by my attorneys as such. If the need should arise only deal with the Utility Owner.
Ah…it sounds like you are referring to the FKAA’s easement. That is an odd situation, isn’t it? The county technically owns the facilities and leases them to the FKAA. But the easement agreement is between the FKAA and the property owner.
Sir, I’m a land surveyor, civil engineer, and Had a Florida real estate lic. & retired as a Sr Contract Field Representative with the FKAA. Trust me about this. I live in a subdivision with private roads. In 1972 The subdivider granted the right to use to “The Police, Fire, Utilities & other services as required. In 1999 the FKAA (the Utility Owner)installed Their Water Pipe in the private road as per the 1972 recorded Plat of Subdivision . In October 2014 the FKAA (Contractor) installed a pipe belonging to Monroe County(Utility Owner). Therefore the 1972 recorded Plat of Subdivision states that the Utility has the rite to use. NOT the Contractor
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Interesting point. I’m a ma’am, not a sir, by the way.
Sorry about the gender mixup. That seems to be quite common lately(little humor here).
So here’s my personal situation, the Utility(Monroe County-BOCC) was granted usage on/in my private road in 1972. Now they are claiming that that right to use is no good but I’ll have forfeit my property rights for the Magic $1.00, which none have ever seen. Therefore what we have here is potentially a Taking which is covered by both the U.S. & Florida Constitutions which mention both trials by juries, and just competition Determined by the court. It’s no wonder the utility owner has directed their Contractor to attempt to Extort property owners to cave in because the contractor said so. OBTW this attempted Extortion invokes “The Color of the Law” principle which is a Crime. So the Monroe County/BOCC is looking at possiblely over a thousand jury trials(how many grinder pumps) and an untold amounts of TAXPAYERS moneies. Notice that not a personal penny will come out of the three Comissioners, Murphy, Neugeant, Rice’s pockets who Created this (Except for the increasing property taxes) and we keep electing them. OBTW everyone should realize that those three Comissioners also voted to Give $14.200,000 to the St. of Florida to repair the St. of Florida’s infrastructure (old 7 mile bridge) and has already given them $2,700,000 of the monies that the Taxpayers voted for to be used for “A Complete and Fully Funded Sewer System” the CRWS. That’s why Grinder Pumps instead of the Garvity System that the County promiced. Drive through Grassy Key and notice the grinder pumps with Traffic Bearing Lids and Utility Supplied Electric. So Why are Some Taxpayers being discriminated against??Let’s wait and see???
Lol. No worries on gender mix-up. FDEP rules around low pressure systems bump up against eminent domain issues. I’m very interested to see how the latest lawsuit unfolds. It looks to me like the property owners are making a very straightforward case for placing the grinder pumps in the right-of-way. The county has yet to respond in any meaningful way. Sure, they made that bullying statement, but they haven’t made a substantive counter argument. I understand that the county/FKAA has threatened to force homeowners to install and maintain their own grinder pumps. That is against FDEP rules.
That’s also against State Statutes.
It’s all about the money. Someone got a Sweet Deal on these grinder pumps with the plastic lids. Traffic bearing covers cost $1600 ea. And throw in the cost for electric and down the line maintence that they’re trying to Force on Individual homeowners/taxpayers. Where’s the fair and equitable?? In my opinion those three above named Comissioners are evil, for what it’s worth.
It’s a bad situation. Not sure the FKAA followed their own purchasing procedures when it came to that sole-source purchase. More research needed. For sure.
I’m sure that the FKAA didn’t have much to say about the bulk purchase of them. Public agencies MC/BOCC & FKAA are required by statues to advertise for Competitive Bids. Somehow FDEP overruled state statues and approved the one source buy. In my opinion someone with a lot more horsepower than FDEP issued the edict. There’s a really lot of money involved here
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The state has definitely played a major role in the way the Keys wastewater projects turned out. There was the counter-intuitive decision to financially punish entities that went forward with their projects in a timely manner as REQUIRED BY THE STATE. There was the decision to override the wishes of the 70% of Keys voters who wanted the FKAA to be governed by an elected board. And there was the absolutely bizarre decision to appoint Richard Toppino to the FKAA board. None of this makes sense from a good government perspective. If good government isn’t the goal, what is?
p.s. I’m sure I don’t even know the half of it. Sounds like there was some curious state involvement with Cudjoe Regional, too?