Let’s talk about what’s happening in Monroe County

Monroe County Commissioner Holly Raschein joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to highlight what’s going on in the county.

Harry Harris Park sustained some pretty substantial damage during Hurricane Irma. It took a little while to get the funds together, but the park is now just about fully functioning.

Raschein said, “It’s just a wonderful park.”

The Plantation Key Courthouse is also up and fully operational.

Raschein said, “If you’re in the upper keys and you’ve got some county business, that’s something that you’ll definitely want to take a look at. It’s built to withstand massive storms and will keep all of our people safe. It’s just really state of the art. I couldn’t be more proud of our county team for the hard work that went into that and now they can experience and enjoy the fruits of their labor.”

Dr. Corey Malcom has been named to succeed Tom Hambright as the county’s lead historian. Hambright announced his retirement earlier this year.

Raschein said, “I’m excited about our new appointment. I’m sure she has amazing talents and history to bring to the county. I’m excited that she’s going to be able to carry on the great work of Mr. Hambright. Talk about big shoes to fill, literally and figuratively. We’re going to miss him. He is a pillar. He has been such a wonderful source of information and guidance and many of us know him and have sat through classes with him. I’m excited to turn a new page. We have a backlog I believe of stuff that needs to be cataloged for our archives. We need to preserve that. That is something that connects us. We’re a long chain of islands, but we’ve got a rich history and I’m excited to see the new team.”

Budget planning sessions are taking place in pretty much all departments.

Raschein pointed out, “If you want to know where the county is sort of headed, which direction we’re heading in or where we are thinking we’re going to head in in the future in the next five or so years, definitely attend those strategic planning committee meetings that are happening throughout the Keys.”

All the departments and divisions throughout the county are putting together their budgetary needs and those will be presented in upcoming meetings in July.

The state of Florida just passed a $109 billion budget. In order to balance it, cuts were made. Could the same kind of cuts be in store for the county?

Raschein said, “There’s never enough money to fill all the needs, much less the wants. If we had a limitless pot of money, that would be amazing, but obviously we know that’s not the case, so that’s when priorities come to be. I’m excited to hear where those priorities are and see how this goes.”

The budget process will proceed through the summer and the budget will have to be approved and ready to go by October 1.

Now is the time if anyone out there has projects that they would like to see included in the budget, let the county know.

Raschein said, “We don’t know what we don’t know. The more information, the better.”