New changes have come to Key West city government

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

Al Childress, the new city manager for Key West, has done some amazing things in his short tenure so far.

Johnston said, “One of the most important things to us as a commission is as we legislate to make sure that the areas of legislation are moving forward.”

Childress has instituted a weekly report to all the managers and every one of the city commissioners as well as the mayor as far as what all the departments are doing.

Johnston said, “What it does is it keeps every, single department aware of what everybody else is doing so that our communication is wide open right now. It’s just a breath of fresh air. This type of communication is exactly what we need to be the most efficient city government that we can be. I’m really pleased with it.”

The city manager’s communications to the commissioners are also being posted on the city’s website for true transparency.

Additionally, there will be one meeting of the city commission per month. There will be a morning session and an evening session.

The morning session will be consent agenda items as well as proclamations and presentations.

Johnston said, “The evening session will be our ordinances and any resolution that has been pulled off of the consent agenda for further discussion. So that’s really the meat of our meeting. Both sessions will be televised so everybody can keep up on it.”

All forms of comment will also still be maintained.

Johnston pointed out, “I’m really anxious to give it a try because it has worked very well for the county.”

Water quality is a big issue for Key West and a partnership with the Florida College of the Keys will provide empirical data of ocean water sampling.

Johnston said, “That’s such an important thing for us because we’ve been operating under anecdotal information for so long. We need to know if we have pollution, what’s the source of that pollution so we can eliminate that.”

A report from all three beaches showed poor water quality.

Johnston said, “You’ve got a lot of people out there swimming and enjoying the beaches of Key West so we want to determine what’s creating that situation so that we can eliminate it.”

Water quality will be tested in the shipping channels as well as near the live-aboards.

Johnston said, “It just gives us a better opportunity of understanding where our pollution is so that we can eliminate it.”

Hurricane season is five weeks away.

Johnston said, “The city of Key West is doing a number of things to harden our community. We are moving forward on raising roads and those low-lying areas that we have that have a tendency to flood. I also want to remind listeners that it’s not too early to start to prepare. Get your coconuts cut down, any type of flying projectile you could have. Do the things you need to do to get ready for hurricane season. I think most of us can remember the 2005 hurricane season where we started off the first week of June with a named storm. Please don’t wait until the last minute. Get prepared. Get your family prepared and get ready so that we can relax and we can enjoy this beautiful city.”