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State Of The City - February 2003

On Wednesday, February 26, 2003, Mayor Jimmy Weekley gave a State of The City address at the Chamber of Commerce General Membership Luncheon.  Following are the key points from his speech:  

We're holding our own economically, unlike many other cities whose mayors I see at conferences

That's because the Commission requires periodic financial updates from the City Manager and the Budget Director

If there is a problem, we are prepared to respond to any sudden economic downturn

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Approximately 200 ROGO units accomplished through negotiation with DCA and through setting aside units

Affordable housing ordinance we approved last February. 14 approved units above existing commercial businesses, there are plans for 20 more.

164 units have been approved and scheduled to begin construction:
96 at Roosevelt Gardens
30 at Sea Side Condominiums
38 at Steam Plant

88 units are also anticipated above businesses in the Truman Waterfront acquisition

144 units at Poinciana for low and moderate income housing
Plus 16-20 in fill units planned
The $15.1 million Poinciana purchase, in the final stages of completion, will assure that this housing for working people in Key West remains affordable in perpetuity

The previous rampant conversion of apartments and homes into guesthouses and vacation rentals has been greatly reduced

As our community gets "grayer", we need to give more attention to assisted living facilities for our seniors - we need to partner with Catholic Charities to secure additional senior housing alternatives and we'll be investigating ways to do that over the next year

THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING ISSUE WILL CONTINUE AS A TOP PRIORITY OF THE COMMISSION

FEDERAL DOLLARS

Supplemental Appropriations Bill just passed by Congress includes $3 million in transportation funds for Key West:
$1 million for ferry terminal facilities
$1 million for buses and bus facility
$1 million for bus service up the Keys

CRUISE SHIPS

We are embarking on a quality of life survey to achieve a balance with regard to cruise ship traffic

Current agreement with DCA allows up to 260 annually; we currently have 160 cruise ships

It is obvious that we need to balance the need for revenues (approximately 9% of our current budget comes from cruise ship revenues) with the need to take into account the environmental, congestion, social and infrastructure demands of additional cruise ships

Next City summit is March 13, 2003 on this important subject and I urge members of your organization to participate

Commend Last Stand for its efforts to spur public interest in the issue

HOMELESS

Recent city summit yielded many good ideas on how we can make a compassionate response to our homeless problem

Government cannot do it alone, nor can the social service network do it alone

This will take a partnership

I expect that development of the proper response to this issue will be a priority of the Commission this year as well

CLEAN CITY

We need a continued emphasis on keeping the city clean

It is easy to fall into complacency about cleanliness

We need to move beyond cleanliness and expand this effort into beautification projects

Projects at Garrison Bight and the Triangle will receive attention

Our twelve months of green-ness should be emphasized

We've got it - we should flaunt it

TRUMAN WATERFRONT PROPERTY

Public hearings will begin soon on the uses of the property agreed upon in the transfer from the federal government

These public hearings will be followed by "request for proposals" on uses of each building and parcel in the transfer

Our Youth Advisory Board made a very compelling presentation recently regarding the opportunities for providing activities and facilities for our youth in this acquisition

PARKS AND SIDEWALKS

Sidewalk construction on Flagler Avenue is in the final design stage

Improvements to Cozumel Park in new town should begin in the next three months

We have dedicated the Skate Park, or Daily Grind, in memory of Blake Fernandez, one of the youths who was instrumental in making this park a reality

STORMWATER

A public hearing on the Front Street stormwater project will be held on February 25, 2003 at 1:15 in Old City Hall

Our lobbyist in Washington continues to press for federal appropriation this year of a portion of the $100 million authorization for Keys water quality projects that our former Congressman Peter Deutsch was able to secure

POLICE STATION DEDICATION

We have dedicated our new police station giving both our fire and law enforcement state-of-the-art facilities

ART IN PUBLIC PLACES

Our Art in Public Places Board has completed several projects over the past year - three murals at the Southernmost Waste to Energy facility, a colorful floor design for the new John & Mary Spottswood Waterfront Park and the beautiful new ceramic fountain at the new Police Station.

This work is evidence of our continued focus on art in public places and the important work that this board is doing for our city

CITY HALL RENOVATION

Discussions have begun regarding renovations of City Hall

Finding the money will be a key consideration here

CODE ENFORCEMENT

Improving public confidence in the enforcement of our laws will be a top priority

We must do a better job in giving code enforcement the tools to provide fair and effective enforcement of all our ordinances

AS WE SEEK TO ADDRESS THESE AND OTHER ISSUES THAT CONFRONT OUR CITY, WE SHOULD BE REMINDED OF OUR MOTTO - ONE HUMAN FAMILY.

THIS SHOULD BE OUR GUIDE. OUR COMMITMENT TO THIS MOTTO IS A SIGN OF THE STRENGTH OF THIS COMMUNITY.

AND IT TELLS THE REST OF THE WORLD THAT HERE IN KEY WEST, THERE IS ROOM FOR EVERYONE.

THANK YOU AGAIN FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE THE CITY I LOVE.