I started this blog because of the extreme wastewater funding disparity imposed on Key Largo citizens by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). Key Largo pays the same taxes as any other unincorporated area, but received $126 million less from the sales tax. As a result, Key Largo citizens will pay $26 million more for their sewer project. To make matters worse, the BOCC has gone on a wild spending spree in Cudjoe Regional. Not only have they overspent the initial bid price by $49 million, they reduced assessments in the area by $10 million. That’s $59 million that now has to come from county-wide taxpayers.
Common sense would tell you that this unfairness and excessive wastefulness would drag down Key Largo’s economy. Available data supports that. Not only is this bad news for Key Largo, it is bad news for all of Monroe County. Key Largo is the second largest contributor of the sales tax next to Key West. If the BOCC wants to keep on with their wild spending ways, targeting Key Laro probably wasn’t such a great idea. Here are some links:
According to numbers I gathered from the state, Key West generated $13.4 million in infrastructure sales tax in 2013. As an incorporated area, they automatically receive a portion of that. In 2013, that was $7.1 million. That’s $6.3 million generated net of Key West’s distribution. The Key Largo area (including unincorporated Tavernier and excluding Ocean Reef) generated $5.1 million in 2013. As an unincorporated area nothing is distributed directly to Key Largo. The entire $5.1 million goes to Monroe County to squander as they see fit.
It gets worse. The BOCC has done nothing to address the situation despite having numerous opportunities along the way. In fact, they continue to lie about it and have actually taken steps to worsen it. Key Largo taxpayers certainly cannot afford this, but neither can any Monroe County taxpayers. How does Monroe County benefit as a whole if the economy of the second largest revenue generator is damaged by irresponsible spending and unfair funding policies?