Monroe County made its second payment to the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District (KLWTD). Here’s their press release in the Blue Paper. Amazingly, the item is semi-accurate, but it is laced with a little spin. The county just can’t help themselves.
Here’s how it works: Monroe County accepted KLWTD’s $17 million portion of the second $50 million allocation of the $200 million Mayfield Grant Fund – which by law the KLWTD cannot use to repay debt for its already built system. Monroe County is using the funds to pay for current construction on the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater System.
Actually, by law the KLWTD can use Mayfield Grant money to repay debt. The law was specifically written to allow financing and refinancing of water quality projects. It still is. When the money finally started coming through, the state excluded that as an allowable use for the money appropriated. It was perverse move that punished entities for meeting the state-mandated timeline.
Here’s a snip from my comment at the Blue Paper.
I would like to point out that the Mayfield Grant was originally meant to finance and refinance construction of central sewer systems in the Keys. Unfortunately for places like Key Largo and Marathon, the state decided to abruptly change the rules when the money finally started coming through.
Those areas that moved expeditiously in order to meet the state-imposed deadline were punished for doing so. Like a Kafka story. I imagine the county/FKAA hell twins lobbied for the change because it’s hard to believe the state would come up with something so monumentally stupid on their own. (It’s not impossible, just hard to believe.)
Entering into the swap agreement with the county was an extremely risky move for the KLWTD. Securing that $17 million was no easy task, and the county has long been determined to block funding that would assist their own taxpayers in Key Largo. The county has refused to provide fair funding from the infrastructure sales tax. Key Largo, by the way, is a major contributor when it comes to the infrastructure sales tax. The county has also attempted to block Key Largo’s efforts to secure state and federal funding.
Now the KLWTD needs to make sure that risky move pays off for the ratepayers. It’s long past time to get to work on lowering rates.