Monroe County and Monroe County’s yard waste contractor will offer free compost (nutrient-rich black dirt) to the residents of unincorporated Monroe County and the cities of Marathon, Key Colony Beach, Islamorada, and Layton at the County’s three transfer stations on the dates below from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or until it is gone. Residents can fill one 32-gallon trash can or six 5-gallon buckets with compost. Proof of residency is required in the form of a driver’s license, utility bill, tax bill, etc. Residents are limited to one pick-up per household. You must bring your own shovel and be able to load the containers on your own or bring someone to assist you.
Monroe County’s transfer station locations:
“Earlier this year, the free compost giveaway was such a huge success for our residents,” said Monroe County Solid Waste Director Cheryl Sullivan. “This is a great way to spruce up your backyard.”
Monroe County is coordinating efforts across departments to ensure floodplain management ordinances are consistent with Florida Building Code and National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements and in anticipation of the new FEMA flood maps adoption. At its Nov. 15 meeting, the Board of County Commissioners adopted amendments to the County’s existing regulations based on the FEMA State Model Ordinance. The amendments are critical for the County to remain in good standing with the NFIP and to maintain Community Rating System (CRS) insurance discounts for NFIP policyholders.
“The most important thing is that we stay in compliance and do not jeopardize our National Flood Insurance Program protections,” said Monroe County Planning Director Emily Schemper.
In summary, the updates to the floodplain management regulations include the following:
At this time, there is no timeline for when the new FEMA flood maps will be adopted. Monroe County appealed several areas of FEMA’s preliminary maps and is still awaiting final decisions. Visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/floodmaps to view preliminary and appeal maps or learn more about flood map changes.
MONROE COUNTY, FL – The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners approved the County’s state legislative priorities for the 2023 session at today’s regularly scheduled meeting. Legislative Affairs Director Lisa Tennyson presented and explained Monroe County’s priorities for the upcoming session from March 7 through May 5, 2023. Highlights of the agenda include:
“Monroe County has seen many successes in the past due to the committed leadership at the state level that has protected our unique and fragile ecosystem and those living and visiting the Florida Keys,” Tennyson said. “We are optimistic we will continue to see success in the 2023 session.”
More information about Monroe County’s legislative priorities can be found at www.monroecounty-fl.gov/legislativeaffairs.
The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners presented a 10 Years of Service pin to Lower Keys Roads and Bridges Heavy Equipment Operator Donald Baty at Tuesday’s meeting. Baty began working for the county in November 2012 as a Maintenance Worker II. Less than a year later, in July 2013, he was promoted to Heavy Equipment Operator.
“Donald is a reliable, hardworking member of the Lower Keys Road crew, and his personnel file contains numerous letters of thanks and commendations from residents he has assisted throughout the years,” said Judy Clarke, Director of Engineering. “One such letter referred to him as an artist for his equipment skills while repairing Hurricane Irma-damaged roads in Little Torch Key.”
As part of the road crew, Baty addresses road problems in all types of weather, after hours, and on weekends, when necessary.
“We are grateful for his dedication to Monroe County,” Clarke said.
At Tuesday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting, the board chose Mayor Pro Tem Craig Cates to serve as Monroe County Mayor and Commissioner Holly Merrill Raschein to serve as Mayor Pro Tem for the next year. Mayor Cates has been a commissioner since 2019, and Mayor Pro Tem Holly Merrill Raschein since 2021.
Mayor Cates and Mayor Pro Tem Merrill Raschein recognized outgoing Mayor David Rice for his mayoral duties for the past year.
The mayor title is given to the chairperson of the Board of County Commissioners. The commissioners choose the designee based on a majority vote, usually at the November board meeting. A mayor pro tem is also designated to fill in when the mayor is unavailable. The mayor presides over the Board of County Commissioners meetings and serves as the Monroe County representative at ceremonial occasions. The mayor is also responsible for signing and cosigning documents with the County Clerk.
In addition to the ceremonial passing of the gavel, four of the five commissioners, Michelle Lincoln, Holly Merrill Raschein, David Rice, and Jim Scholl, were re-elected to their seats and were sworn in by the Clerk of the Court Kevin Madok.
Michaela Manning, Senior Coordinator of Permitting in the Building Department, is named Monroe County’s Employee of the Third Quarter for 2022 for her exemplary attitude, recognized in the community and by her co-workers. She started with the County in March 2017. Her primary duties include ensuring her team in the Marathon office is well-trained in their positions. With the implementation of the new all-online permitting system, she embraced the challenge of working to assist all employees through the testing of the new program.
“Michaela has been, and continues to be, a key employee in our progress with our new electronic permitting software,” said Permitting Administrative Director Ed Koconis. The system went live in October, and she helped ensure the program worked properly. “We continue to laud her work and look forward to her continuing professionalism, not only with electronic permitting but with everything she does.”
Monroe County Solid Waste Director Cheryl Sullivan presented solid waste management challenges and opportunities in southeast Florida at last Friday’s South Florida Regional Planning Council meeting in Boca Raton. Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River counties were at the conference. Also in attendance at the conference was Monroe County Commissioner Michelle Lincoln Coldiron. Sullivan discussed the unique challenges of solid waste and recycling collection along the 110-mile linear county that makes up the Florida Keys.
“Since we haul our trash to the mainland, collaboration with our northern neighbors is imperative to us in the Florida Keys,” said Lincoln Coldiron. “These counties face many of our same challenges, and we all work together to educate the public on best practices.”
A new term used at the conference included “wishcycling” – putting a non-recyclable item in the recycling bin, hoping it will be recycled. In Monroe County, items do not need to be separated, and residents and visitors can recycle:
You cannot recycle:
To learn more about recycling and solid waste programs like the Household Hazardous Waste and e-waste collection details, visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/solidwaste.
Monroe County Completes Hurricane Ian Storm Debris Collection; Reminder: Illegal Dumping is a Problem Paid for by Taxpayers
Monroe County completed its Hurricane Ian storm debris collection. In three weeks, Monroe County collected 866 tons, or 1.7 million pounds, including
All residents should return to the regular collection policy for yard waste, white goods, and appliances. As a reminder, yard waste receptacles should not weigh more than 50 pounds and should not be more than 12 inches above the container's rim. For vegetation over 50 pounds or bulk piles, contact your franchise hauler to estimate the cost for pickup/removal. Household items like couches or mattresses also require you to contact your local franchise hauler to arrange for a free pickup.
It is illegal and can be a felony to dump household appliances, construction materials, boats, trailers, RVs, and vegetative debris on County-owned vacant land and County rights-of-way and streets.
When someone illegally dumps, Monroe County taxpayers pay the extra disposal cost. The County is working on curtailing dumping at hotspots by adding surveillance to the areas. Call 9-1-1 for someone ACTIVELY dumping on vacant land or rights-of-way if you see illegal dumping in action. To report dumping that is not actively in progress, call the most appropriate Monroe County Sheriff substation for the area - do not call 9-1-1. Substation phone numbers can be found at www.keysso.net/locations.
"The illegally dumped debris affects our quality of life, wildlife, and marine habitats," said Cheryl Sullivan, Monroe County Director of Solid Waste. "We must discourage this behavior and report it if it is seen in progress."
Local haulers can remove many household bulk items at NO COST to the resident, like appliances and furniture, etc. Please contact your hauler to discuss your needs and schedule a pickup. Construction debris and large vegetative piles can be removed by contacting your local hauler for a fee. Call before you put it out curbside. Local haulers in the Florida Keys include:
Boats, boat trailers, RVs without motors, campers, and other oversized items can be disposed of at one of Monroe County's three transfer stations at a price per ton. To contact a transfer station regarding pricing, call:
For more information about solid waste, call 305-292-4323 or visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/solidwaste.
County Commissioners Ask Marine Resources To Pursue Adding 100 Moorings Near Wisteria Island off Key West
After looking at several alternative locations, the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners directed Monroe County Marine Resources to pursue permitting 100 moorings near the Wisteria Key area off the island of Key West.
A Preliminary Feasibility Study explored potential mooring field sites within one mile of the Key West Bight City Dock, which is required to make Florida Statute 327.4108 effective. The statute designates Monroe County as an anchoring limitation area.
Data used for choosing the area included preliminary benthic and bathymetric data, existing shoreside services, and coordination meetings with the City of Key West, Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Permitting will be required from the state and federal agencies before moving forward.
“The City of Key West has been an excellent partner, and we look forward to further coordination,” said Marine Resources Senior Administrator Brittany Burtner. “The shoreside and upland services they operate meet mooring field permitting requirements, including existing dinghy dockage and shower facilities that could use additional upgrades to make the facility more user-friendly.”
Monroe County Tax Collector Sam Steele presented $5.4 million in excess fees at the Wednesday Board of County Commissioners meeting. The total amount of the certified tax roll for 2022 is $366.5 million for all taxing authorities, about $42 million more than last year. The tax collector presented $5.5 million in excess fees last year, a historic high.
Florida Statute states whenever a tax collector has money in excess, he or she shall distribute the surplus to each governmental unit in the same proportion as the fees paid by the governmental unit.
The fees in excess for Monroe County are used to offset the budget, benefiting taxpayers.
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