Let’s check in with the city of Key West

Key West Mayor Teri Johnston joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s been going on in the city.

The city commissioners will meet this Thursday.

Johnston said, “This meeting will certainly be more in line with our normal meetings, although we will always have a lot of presentations because the commission members have asked to be updated on certain areas. Also in the morning session, we have our proclamations, which are our recognition of special events going on in the in the world and in the state of Florida and in the city of Key West.”

The Housing Authority will have some new members.

Johnston explained, “It is the jurisdiction under the jurisdiction of the mayor to appoint the Housing Authority member. It’s been that way for years and years and years. We have one of the oldest housing authorities in the United States, and it is the mayor’s responsibility to appoint, so I am going to appoint the first brand new members of the housing authority in I think decades. I’ve got to go back and take a look at that. I do have two appointments, they are two terrific appointments. It will be Thaddeus Cohen, who will be replacing the retired Roosevelt Sands, Sr., and it will be Robert Cintron, a local attorney who will be replacing Robert Dean. I’ve got those two on the agenda for Thursday morning.

Seats in restaurants have also been discussed recently.

Johnston said, “We had 65 restaurants who had more seats than they were authorized for. So our code compliance department did a sweep of the entire community. We found 65 restaurants, as I mentioned, having more seats than what they were actually paying for. As of today, I’m happy to announce that 60 of the 65 businesses who were in violation have come into compliance. Out of those 60, 39 businesses removed their extra seats to come into compliance. Twenty-one of those businesses paid the extra number of seats that they were authorized for and those 21 businesses that paid for the extra seats generated about $208,000 of revenue into the city. All of those revenue sources, of course, help keep taxes low in the city of Key West, so we certainly appreciate that. We’ve got five restaurants that we are still working with trying to bring them into compliance. I’m sure that it will come to a head here very shortly because code compliance is following up on them as is a special magistrate.”

Diana Nyad’s historic swim will be celebrated.

Johnston said, “We have been talking about Diana Nyad historic swim, where she landed on Smathers Beach after several tries from her historic swim from Cuba. This is her 10 year anniversary. In fact, her actual anniversary was the first weekend September. But we are going to host a special event for Diana. It’s going to be Saturday, October 21 and we’re going to have an event out on Smathers Beach in the morning and then we will have host a reception for Diana in the afternoon. It’s so exciting because on Sunday, there will be the Netflix premiere at the Tropic Cinema of Diana’s movie. Annette Bening is going to play Diana Nyad. Jodie Foster is going to play her friend Bonnie’s role. It’s quite an event for the city of Key West to have this premiere here. First time it’s going to be seen. So we certainly welcome that and congratulate Diana on an incredible career. It’s actually going to be at the Tropic Cinema. And it will be on Sunday afternoon, I believe at two o’clock in the afternoon, but they will be hosting the premiere.”

There’s been talk about the local 2024 election.

Johnston said, “I’m focused on the city. But I will certainly make that announcement, I believe, probably early in the year. This is going to be a very, very important election for the city of Key West. Because as everyone knows, we have three long term city commissioners that are termed out. City Commission has a term of 12 years. So that is going to change the entire complexion of the City Commission. I would urge everyone that is out there that has ever thought of running for public office, to please throw your hat in the ring, because it is a very noble, noble job. You have an opportunity to help people to make their lives better every single day. You do have to make some tough decisions. You make some decisions that some people aren’t particularly happy with, but if you’re making those decisions in the best interest of our community for the long term, you can’t go wrong. So I would encourage everyone that if you’ve thought about it, you have three opportunities right now to throw your hat in the ring, please do so. We need young people. We need people that are ready to carry the torch on some major issues like sea level rise, climate change, our infrastructure, certainly continuing to fight for affordable housing. But there’s a lot of very bright young people out there that I hope will throw their hat in the ring.”