letter to the editor

The Devil is in the Details


Dear Editor,

They say, “The Devil is in the details.” So true when it comes to the March 15 referendums on Peary Court.

We citizens of Key West are offered what appear to be two similar referendums. But, read more carefully.

One is titled: “Authorization to purchase Peary Court to use as workforce housing.”

Nothing in this referendum mentions “affordable” housing! It seeks to purchase, use, and hold the property for workforce housing. “Workforce housing” requires 70% or more of residents’ household income be from employment in Key West. This referendum requires indebtedness be solely funded by rents which means rents $2400 or greater. At the accepted ratio of 30% of income as reasonable rent, this would mean that a 2-person household would need to have total income of $115,200 and $80,640 from employment in Key West.

The other referendum is titled: “Revenue Bonds to Finance Acquiring, Improving and Equipping Peary Court Affordable Workforce Housing Project.”

This referendum does mention affordable workforce housing, but does so by obligating all the citizens of Key West through long-term bonds to be repaid from “… certain revenues from the Peary Court housing complex …” Under this referendum, rents are lower making the necessary household income requirement lower (hence “affordable”), but only by obligating the City for an extended period to cover the costs not recovered by rents.

So, don’t confuse the two referendums, or think they are about the same thing. The only common element is purchase of a portion of Peary Court; the difference is whether we approve of the City providing self-sustaining higher-rent workforce housing or providing affordable housing by obligating all of us for decades.

Of course, we have the option of approving neither, believing that purchase of a portion of Peary Court is not a reasonable solution to our need for affordable workforce housing.

Randy Becker, Key West

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2 thoughts on “The Devil is in the Details

  1. Jimmy Weekley and the other Peary Court advocates wants to make people believe that Peary Court will be profitable and there is going to be an issue of what to do with all the windfall cash resulting from the rents. They repeatedly state that NO city money will be used on anything at all. NO city money for maintenance, personnel, improvements, taxes, etc…. As the referendum is currently worded, however, the rental income will only be used to payoff the mortgage (or bond depending on how you want to call the note), but there is no clarification on what monies can be used to pay all the ancillary Peary Court expenses. At some future date, I can imagine someone saying that those can be paid out of the city coffers without breaking the referendum restrictions.

    In other words, the referendum only requires that the mortgage balance be paid from the rents derived from the property. The City of Key West can be held to pay everything else.

    See a copy of the referendum at the link below:


    As the referendum is written, only the mortgage balance is required to be paid from the rents derived from the property.

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