MONROE COUNTY, FL – Yesterday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Fiscal Year 2024 State budget, including the full $20 million Florida Keys Stewardship Act and $5 million for land acquisition appropriation. In addition, the State funded $6.25 million for the Monroe County Emergency Operations Center being built at Marathon airport, $650,000 for the mobile vessel pump-out program, $1.6 million for mooring field development, and $10 million for a new Florida Keys artificial reef program. The State’s budget for resilience funding includes five top-ranked Florida Keys projects for road elevations and living shorelines. The budget also provides significant funding for programs that indirectly affect Monroe County, including Everglades restoration, Florida Forever, and affordable housing.
“This is record funding from the Governor and delegation for protecting the Florida Keys,” said Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi. “This included a lot of work put in by our Legislative Affairs Director Lisa Tennyson and her team in Tallahassee as well as Rep. Mooney and Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez. None of this would have been possible without their support.”
Mayor Craig Cates is especially appreciative of the vessel pump-out and mooring field funding that helps protect the Florida Keys marine environment.
“I am so pleased the Governor included critical funding for Monroe County in his budget,” said Cates. “This budget shows us the State is invested in our economic stability and the future of the Florida Keys.”
The State Legislature enacted the Florida Keys Stewardship Act in 2016. This one-of-a-kind legislation acknowledges the importance of protecting the Florida Keys’ unique and fragile resources, including its coral reef, seagrass beds, and mangroves. Monroe County has secured $90 million in water quality funding since the passage of the Act, and Florida Keys communities use the funding to implement water quality projects to protect these resources.
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