Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi’s Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

As we are about to ring in the New Year, Monroe County’s Board of County Commissioners and our County government staff are proud of what was done to enhance the lives of our citizens and visitors this past year. Below are the some of our top accomplishments for 2016.

1. Passage of the 2016 Florida Keys Stewardship Act:

The County’s legislative team worked together with State Rep. Holly Raschein, Sen. Anitere Flores and the Key’s municipalities to pass this new state legislation. It includes a $5-million annual appropriation for 10 years for land acquisition. It also expands the types of water projects eligible for funding.

2. Inclusion in federal Community Rating System:

Residents and business owners in Unincorporated Monroe County became eligible for federal flood insurance discounts resulting in more than $3.6 million in annual savings to the County’s 15,000 National Flood Insurance Program policyholders – an average of $233 per policy.

3. Opened new customs facility at Florida Keys Marathon International Airport:

The new $1.64-million Customs and Border Protection facility opened in April at the Florida Keys Marathon International Airport. For the first time in decades, international flights are able to land in Marathon.

4. Secured RESTORE Act funding from BP oil spill settlement:

County’s legislative team secured $20 million over the next 15 years for environmental and water quality restoration.

5. Adopted 2030 Comprehensive Plan and updated Land Development Code:

Both documents originally were developed more than 20 years ago. The Comp Plan evaluates everything that would affect the island chain, including: land uses, housing, conservation of environmentally sensitive land, infrastructure, transportation, ports and aviation.

6. Made progress tackling affordable housing crisis in Keys:

County took a proactive step by making all of its approximately 700 remaining affordable housing allocation units available immediately. This has helped lead to a flurry of new affordable housing projects now in the works in the Keys.

7. Added life-saving Trauma Star helicopter to air ambulance service:

The County purchased a second Trauma Star helicopter to provide life-saving flights for residents and visitors throughout the Keys.

8. Completed of Canal Restoration Demonstration Project:

The County completed construction on six restoration projects to improve water quality on some of the worst canals in unincorporated Monroe County. Monitoring is underway with early results showing improved water quality.

9. Mobile pump out program for boats collected one millionth gallon of sewage:

The County’s mobile vessel pump out vendor collected its one millionth gallon of sewage under the County’s free pump out program for boats anchored in designated areas of the Florida Keys waters.

10. Set aggregate millage rate at 3.5360 – lowest in state of Florida

The County Commission adopted a $457-million operating and capital budget for fiscal year 2017. It includes an aggregate millage rate of 3.5360, which is 5.4% less than last year’s rate and .33% below the rolled-back millage rate.

This list is just the tip of the iceberg of what was done by the Commission and County employees – who work in 21 departments up and down the island chain and strive for efficiency and cost effectiveness. Everyday tasks include: providing building permits, enforcing County codes, maintaining County facilities, roads, bridges and its vehicle fleet, overseeing trash collection and recycling, keeping information flowing to the public, and producing and administering a $400-million plus budget.

The County’s Fire Rescue and Emergency Management worked around the clock to keep residents and visitors safe, which this year included an outbreak of screwworm and threats from Hurricane Mathew and the Zika virus.

The County’s five libraries provided programs for tots to seniors, as well as a place for residents and visitors to go to learn and improve their lives. The County’s two airports brought in hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Keys, and now there is new service to Newark and soon to be Chicago, provided by United Airlines Express.

The County’s social services, veterans affairs and guardian ad litem departments worked to help children, seniors, veterans, homeless and other residents who could use help. The County also funds three animal shelters, and has worked on sustainability projects to adapt road and building projects to sea-level rise and climate change.

The County worked on new public recreational facilities, including opening Rowell’s Waterfront Park in Key Largo, overhauling Bernstein Park on Stock Island, and repairing and upgrading boat ramps at State 4a, Harry Harris Park and Blimp road. A new pedestrian bridge is almost complete over Adams Cut Waterways. Major bridge repairs are underway to Card Sound Road Bridge and Old Seven Mile Bridge. The Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility was completed and the deep well for that system almost is done, too.

As 2017 approaches, I want to reaffirm our commitment that your County remains resilient and ready for the future, while controlling the cost of government and continuing the efficient and effective delivery of services.

Roman Gastesi Jr.
Monroe County Administrator

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6 thoughts on “Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi’s Letter to the Editor

  1. Dear Roman, you’ve got to be F’****** kidding us. You and the other cronies on the Rich side of the 7 Mile should hang your Collective heads in SHAME, the way YOU and “No further comments on the Grider Pumps”-Slippery Sylvia, “All you Grinder Pumps LOOSERS”-King george, and D. Rice-you got kicked out once and it’s time again, Totally Raped the grinder pump LOOSERS. And while you’re at it HOW ABOUT This Totally Illegal service charge that you have directed your CONTRACTOR-Kurt Zeulch and company to begin collecting even though You-Roman Gestesi have NOT DIRECTED your CONTRACTOR, Kurt Zeulch and company to follow YOUR OWN ORDINANCES by providing a GRAVITY CONNECTION at THE PROPERTY LINE IN THE RIGHT of WAY. Why Mr. Gestesi was 2.7 MILLION dollars Stolen from The Monroe County 1(one) cent INFRASTRUCTURE SALES TAX FUND that the VOTERS MANDATED to be used for “A Complete and Fully Funded Sewer System” and GIVEN to the State of Florida to REPAIR the State of Florida’s infrastructure-the Old 7 Mile Bridge, And lest we forget there’s another 12.-MILLION DOLLARS more that You and your cronies pledged–To Repair THE CITY of MARATHON’s Number 1(one) TOURIST ATTRACTION. Funny isn’t it that 2(two) of the 3 controlling votes on the commission live in the Corporate City of Marathon. And here’s another funny thing to think about when considering how Sleezy things are here in para-Loaded-Dice, anyone old enough to vote possibly heard the term Gerymandering?? The political maneuvering to redistrict voting units to unbalance the power in favor of Sleezy politicians– So how we’re 534 votes from “The Lower Keys”(South of the 7 Mile bridge) moved to a narrow strip of land, Golf side on the North side of the 7Mile bridge(Middle Keys) inside the Corporate City Limits, where King George happens to live. Now King George is proported to be the commissioner for the Lower Keys. Can you see the Problem here–Where’s his loyalties??Did he vote to steal Imfrastructure tax monies to Benefit His home City??YES. THE Florida Stewardship Act is just another Scam to bilk the Taxpayers Again. Will it ever end ?? It did once upon a time when a bunch of Pi****Off taxpayers dressed up as Indians and Threw King George’s Tea in the Bay. Perhaps it’s needed again?? How do you stop a runaway roller coaster?? You don’t, it just Crashes.

  2. Some good things: 1) Mr. Gastesi was all for the purchase of the Rowell’s Marina property in Key Largo. This property “is” the Florida Keys, and gives residents and our guests a truly great view of what the Keys are all about. Don’t over build it, though, as its value is in its rural state. 2) We’ll have to see about the Florida Stewardship Act, but at least on the surface it appears that it will bring in a large amount of money for our area, and help to preserve the Key’s way of life in a good way. I hope it works out for the best.

  3. The impact of the Stewardship Act is very unclear. The bill evolved (devolved?) a lot over time. Some, if not all, of that $5 million for land purchases looks like it might actually come from local taxpayers. Clarity on that would be helpful. Also expanding eligible water quality projects might actually hurt the Keys chances at state funding. The gov’s office was willing to support wastewater funding because it was a state mandate. Canal restoration – not so much. That’s just another BOCC boondoggle.

    1. “Some, if not all, of that $5 million for land purchases looks like it might actually come from local taxpayers. Clarity on that would be helpful.”


      Give Rep. Raschein’s Key Largo office a call and find out. 305-453-1202

  4. Commissioners (BOCC) hired to oversee their sewer projects? That would have been Roman “the iPhone Bandit” Gastesi. Here’s a link to Gastesi’s resume, if you can find any evidence of that sewer expertise, let me know. I don’t see anything specifically related to sewers when I look at the resume.

    That was back in 2008-2009. So how did all those sewer projects turn out? You can make up your own mind, but the Cudjoe Regional project is widely regarded as a failure. And the Big Coppitt project isn’t doing so hot either. Gastesi couldn’t even keep the numbers straight when it came to wastewater funding.

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