Marathon is working hard on clean up

After Hurricane Ian, the city of Marathon is focused on helping people.

John Bartus, Mayor of Marathon, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5 FM this morning to talk about what’s going on in the city.

An ocean side storm surge saw some damage in homes in Marathon from the hurricane.

Bartus said, “If there are people out there who need help, you might not be able to go out there and wield chainsaws and be able to cut huge tree limbs. The city’s fire department and the city’s public works department have volunteered to come out and help people with some things they might not be able to handle themselves.”

Contact the fire department at 305-743-5266 or the public works department at 305-743-0033 if you need help.

Yesterday, FEMA did approve Monroe County to be added to the list of counties in Florida that do have an emergency declaration.

Bartus said, “What this will do will be able to provide that FEMA reimbursement in case we do indeed have to have some storm-related costs and I think we probably are in terms of clean up. So just asking everybody to be patient with us. So within the next week or so we’ll probably be able to announce debris clean up for some of the stuff that we can’t handle with the regular garbage.”

The FEMA support will also open up the individual assistance and business assistance as well.

Bartus said, “There’s people throughout the entire Keys affected.”

Indeed, some neighborhoods were underwater for days after the storm passed.

Bartus said, “There’s heartbreaking stories. I’m so glad it was not nearly as bad as everything that happened up in Fort Myers, Sanibel, Captiva, southwest Florida. My heart goes out to them. That is a devastation on a magnitude we haven’t seen in a long time and our thoughts and prayers are going out to them and whatever relief that we could provide them. Their recovery is something that’s going to take five years and more.”

A Marathon Council meeting will be held soon and the Rate of Growth Ordinance housing issue will be discussed.

Bartus said, “I’m looking forward to us being able to instruct our council to take that appeal all the way to the Florida Supreme Court. Whether or not they choose to hear it is something we don’t know. We’re adopting a multi-pronged approach to that. I don’t see anybody on the council not wanting to appeal this to the Supreme Court. We’re also going to be working on a legislative fix in the next legislative session to make sure the language is there that there’s no room for any court to find anything ambiguous that they can hang their hat on like in my opinion a total misinterpretation of what the 24 hour evacuation cycle is that we got hung up on in this particular case.”

It looks like the state legislators will also be helping in Tallahassee.

Bartus said, “It’s definitely not a given. I’m sure the people who are opposing this are going to do everything they can to lobby as well. Putting people in affordable homes is something that’s not just a local Keys problem anymore. This is becoming a nationwide problem. Especially when you have a place down here where the cost of living is as high as it is, property values are insane and there’s no seeming relief in sight. We’ve got to do the right thing for the people and you’ve got to make things right that way.”