September 16 — Officials in Monroe County are always working hard for the residents of the Florida Keys.
David Rice, Mayor of Monroe County and Commissioner of District 4, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to discuss goings on in the county.
Card Sound Road will see a toll increase on October 1 due to inflationary issues.
Online building permits will launch on October 3.
Rice said, “This is something we’ve been working on for some time. Our staff has been heavily involved in that and I think it can be a major improvement. It benefits primarily our contractors and everyone who’s applying for building permits.”
Paper permit applications will not be processed after October 3, but the online process is detailed on the website.
The Monroe County Contractors Examining Board met this week to discuss licenses for specialty contractors.
Rice said, “This was the result of a legislative change that came down from Tallahassee and I think it reflects perhaps a misunderstanding of how things work in Monroe County and many other particularly smaller counties in the state. I think this is being addressed on a statewide level and it will require legislative action to get that done, but we’re committed to supporting that process and supporting our local contractors. I’ll give you one example. It says you have to have a state license. Well then you have to qualify to sit for the examination by having a certain number of years of experience. We have contractors who have 40 years of experience, but they weren’t working under a general contractor or one of the required licensed people and with 40 years of experience, you still don’t qualify on experience to take the exam. That’s thoughtless. I’m sorry I can’t think of a better word than just thoughtless. So we’re supporting the whole concept of correcting this in the next legislative session.”
The state of Florida recently granted counties and municipalities the legal authority to restrict smoking within boundaries of the county and municipal owned public beaches and parks.
Monroe County has taken up the prohibition.
Rice said, “It’s a change that many people welcome. I’m sure some people don’t, but we have a strange habit which is okay you finish a cigarette and you flip it on the ground. Not only are you polluting, it’s unsightly and we need to be more responsible, I think. I did notice an interesting aspect of that. All smoking materials are eliminated on public beaches except for unfiltered cigars.”
The filters in the cigarettes contain more than 7,000 carcinogenic chemicals and when they’re just tossed on the ground, it can be a concern.
Rice said, “Those substances, carcinogens, don’t do much for our lungs. We know that. They don’t do much for our ocean, either. I think this is a step in the right direction and I believe that we’ll all be better because of it.”
Be Like Mike Day will be held on October 21, the birthday of Mike Forster, a County Commissioner we lost due to COVID.
Rice said, “We miss Mike. Mike was truly special in the sense that, well, for example, after the hurricane, he was feeding hundreds perhaps thousands of people a day. His background was operating restaurants. I ran into him many times down as far as Big Pine and further, bringing in absolute truck loads of great food for people who otherwise would have had a problem. He went above and beyond.”
Be Like Mike Week will be held from October 16 through the 22.
The five-year anniversary of Hurricane Irma occurred a week ago and work on the Emergency Management Center in Marathon is continuing.
Rice said, “I’m looking forward to an upcoming groundbreaking. I don’t believe that date has quite been specified yet, but we’re getting pretty close to that event.”