What’s happening in Key West – let’s check in with City Commissioner Mary Lou Hoover

August 19 – It’s a busy time in Key West for budgets, ballots and building permits.

Mary Lou Hoover, Key West City Commissioner for District 5, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM yesterday morning to talk about what’s going on in the city.

On the upcoming ballot will be the referendum for the Key West Botanical Garden to give them a 50 to 100 year lease to allow the organization to look into grants and other sources of funding to make improvements to the property.

Hoover said, “We definitely want to see that move forward.”

City Manager Patti McLauchlin will be retiring next July and a search committee has been formed a while ago. Each commissioner had the opportunity to recommend a person to that committee.

Hoover said they will be looking for “somebody who’s qualified and who can lead the city moving forward and also that they have a good understanding of the budget process.”

A recommendation had been made at a recent meeting to increase the salaries of the commissioners and the mayor, but it didn’t seem to be very popular, even with the commissioners.

Hoover explained, “It was not going to be a benefit to the seated commission as it is right now. It would not take place until the next election which would be 2024. I think the mayor has the idea that this would be an encouragement to get some younger, new people on the dais because let’s face it, it’s hard to survive on $20,000 a year.”

It is budget time and two budget meetings will be held in September.

Hoover said, “That’s where we will be knocking down all of the different proposals for new positions and/or equipment, projects and coming up with a budget that we hope our citizenry can live with.”

Building permits have been an issue all up and down the Keys.

Hoover said, “I think that the city is in a unique position in comparison to the county and the two other municipalities that are in line to try and get those ROGOs (Rate of Growth Ordinance permits). We’re hoping that if their petitions for the appeals don’t go well that we may be able to pick some of those up and then be able to use them up and down the Keys. Because we would be able to get them just because of our unique situation.”

The primary election will be August 23 – that’s next Tuesday.

Hoover said, “Please get out and vote. It’s very important.”