Key West mayor reports on the State of the City


The Address to the Key West City Commission at Old City Hall on Feb. 19.

Key West is in very good financial condition with our tax mileage rate lower in the city than the county. Key West is starting almost 40 million dollars in major projects this year with all the money in the bank. There are over 65 million dollars in private developments in progress now.

Two major hotels recently sold for almost 700 thousand a room. Those are long-term investments in Key West, and that shows the confidence investors have in our economy.

I will give you an overview of those projects and our city departments.

Key West has a general fund budget of 54 million dollars and our departments are staffed with qualified and hardworking employees. I will update you on some of our departments and some of their accomplishments.

Major projects

  • ·       City Hall at Glynn Archer demolition starting in March and project is on Schedule:  $16 million.
  • ·       New transit facility on college road started.  $11.5 million.
  • ·       Fire Station Number 2 has started at Angela and Simonton. $6 million.
  • ·        Renovation of Nelson English and Willy Ward Parks and upgrades to community pool restrooms almost completed. $800,000.
  • ·       Renovation and repairs at Douglass Gym starting soon. $1.7 million.
  • ·       Sexton house going back out to bids and should start this year. $400,000.
  • ·       Truman Waterfront Park phase one will start this year after many years of input and hard work from the citizens of Key West, Truman waterfront Advisory Board and the Bahama Village Redevelopment Advisory Committee. $11.5 million to start.
  • ·       Storm Water Drainage project at Duval and Front Street.  $4.0 million.


Major Private Sector Projects

      . Renovation of the five hotels on North Roosevelt Boulevard and their rebranding.

            .   Peary Court was purchased by private sector and will be redeveloped.                                       

         .  The new 96-room hotel will be completed this year.

           .   The renovation of the Waterfront Market into the Key West Brewery will be completed this year.


North Roosevelt Blvd. Project

        .  The North Roosevelt boulevard reconstruction project is nearing completion and is secluded to be complete at the end of July      

City Management

  • ·       Reorganization of Departments to more effectively provides City services.
  • ·       Worked with FDOT to speed up and streamline the complete overhaul of North Roosevelt Blvd.
  • ·       Welcomed several new Department directors and managers.

Public Safety

  • ·       Installed new energy-efficient lighting downtown and at the wastewater treatment plant.
  • ·       Resurfaced streets all over the island in an ongoing improvement project, which also included paving the roads within the Historic Cemetery.
  • ·       Completed the second of two faces replenishing the sand at Smathers Beach.
  • ·       Completed the $1.4 million Tarpon Pier improvement, which finished on time and within budget and provides up-to-date electric, water, phone and sewer connections and a floating design that assures a longer life for the pier.


Utilities Improvements

  • ·                  Completed the $3.5 Million headworks replacement at the Richard A. Heyman Environmental Protection Facility (wastewater treatment plant).
  • ·                  Completed the $1.5 million City’s new emergency outfall and generator project for the stormwater pump station at the intersection of Patricia and Ashby Streets.  75% of these construction costs were paid by FEMA.
  • ·                  Neared completion of a new $4 million George Street stormwater basin Pump assisted wells and emergency outfall project.  This project is also 75% funded by FEMA and will provide tremendous drainage improvements for an oft-flooded neighborhood.
  • ·                  Billing for stormwater was successfully changed from monthly billing to a new non-ad valorem assessment on the property tax roll, resulting in fewer delinquencies and an improved collection rate.
  • ·                  The City purchased and distributed 12,000 new 65-gallon recycling carts to residents. Since the change to single day collection, The City’s average recycling rate has tripled.

Department of Transportation

To provide safe, dependable, efficient and environmentally sensitive public transportation services for residents and visitors of the City of Key West and the Lower Florida Keys.


2013 Accomplishments

  • ·   Provided Community Shuttle Trips, including Fantasy Fest Captain Morgan “Safe Ride” Shuttles, also assisted Key West High School with their fundraiser.
  • ·   2013 Safety Award from Florida Public Transportation Association for 6th year in a row.
  • ·   Installed new video surveillance camera’s on transit buses.
  • ·   Revised City bus routes to four complete loop systems.
  • ·   System Safety Program Plan finalized and submitted to FDOT.
  • ·   Upgrade of Syncromatics Real Time Information software to provide more accurate prediction times.
  • ·    

Fire Department


  • ·                  New Pierce PUC Pumper Engine 6 was put in service.
  • ·                  Division Chief Craig Marston retired after 30 years of and Captain Alan Averette was promoted to Division Chief of Emergency Management and Training to replace Division Chief Craig Marston.
  • ·                  The Key West High School Fire Academy was resurrected with funding from South Florida Workforce Investment Board.

Parking Department 

In 2013 the Parking Division successfully installed an additional 11 parking pay stations.  This completes the conversion from older single space meters to the “Pay and Display” pay stations. Some blocks with fewer meters will remain with single space meters because of limited parking spaces.

 Modems in all our pay stations were all upgrade to more advanced 3G modems to improve communication and transfer of data.

They implemented a “parking trail” by installing signs along the City’s right-of-Way to help direct motorist in locating available parking at the major parking lots.

-Improvements have been made in School Zones with new crosswalk portable signs and flashing beacons on Flagler.



  • ·      Completed the $1.5 million City’s new emergency outfall and generator project for the stormwater pump station at the intersection of Patricia and Ashby Streets.  75% of these construction costs were paid by FEMA.
  • ·      Neared completion of a new $4 million George St. Storm water Basin Pump Assisted Wells and Emergency Outfall Project.  This project is also 75% funded by FEMA and will provide tremendous drainage improvements for an oft-flooded neighborhood.
  • ·      Began design work for a new emergency outfall for the Simonton Street Storm water Pump Station.  This will expedite our ability to drain the lower Front Street area after torrential rains.
  • ·      Designed drainage improvements to benefit the East Front Street basin.  This includes a new larger replacement outfall, 5 new gravity wells, and improved inlets on Duval St.  FEMA will fund 75% of the construction costs.
  • ·      Installed new extended trench drain systems at Stadium Trailer Park and at the baseball stadium.
  • ·      In the past year, the City’s contractor OMI cleaned 352 sediment traps, 1101 storm water catch basins, 661 debris baskets, 58 shallow wells, 32,363 feet of storm drain pipe, installed 16 new grates, and also installed 9 new trench drain systems.

IT Department

        Purchased, configured and installed 57 replacement desktops

        Purchased, configured and installed 15 replacement laptops

        Installed 4 new servers to replace an aging blade center that hosts Virtual Servers for the City of Key West network.

        Designed and installed a new network for the Key West Police Department Street Crimes Division.

        Upgraded KWPD  Operating System

        Upgraded KWPD software

        Replaced PC’s for Street Crimes Division

        Installed a new Virtual ICOP Server to replace two aging hardware based servers.

        Replaced PC’s in Key West Police Department Dispatch.

  Police Department

              Crime dropped by 5.8% in 2013 and violent crime dropped by 14.4%.    

               Burglaries dropped by 9.3%

              Over the year, the Department handled 155,775 incidents. There were 24,947 emergency 911 calls that were handled through dispatch and 5,787 pieces of evidence catalogued.

              During 2013, Detective investigated 427 cases.

              The Key West Police Department assisted in providing a safe transition in traffic patterns for the FDOT construction project on North Roosevelt Blvd. and successfully supported all major events in Key West including Fantasy Fest, the power boat races and New Year’s Eve.

Planning Department


  • ·                  HARC Staff reviewed 1917 HARC applications of those 93 were reviewed by the HARC Board.


  • ·                  Planning: 120 Conditional Uses, easements, variances and development plans.
  • ·                  Tree Commission and Urban Forestry – 420 tree removal and replacement permits, with 50 percent approved by staff.
  • ·                  Created revised method for lawful residential units.
  • ·                  Realigned processing order of receiving HARC approvals and Major Developments to achieved efficiency and lessen variance requests.
  • ·                  Served as staff to the Bahama Village and Caroline Street Community Re-Development districts, with $425, 00 in TIF grants were awarded in 2013.

       Updating the Comprehensive plan

  • ·                  Completed the Evaluation and Appraisal Report changes to the comprehensive plan, the first update to the Comprehensive Plan in twenty years.  The City Commission adopted the plan and the plan became effective May 2, 2013.
  • ·                  Completed the Building permit Allocation System (BPAS) ordinance required by the Comprehensive Plan.  The ordinance provides the guidelines for the issuance of new restricted building permits each year for the next decade.
  • ·                  Prepared the adopted Comprehensive Plan for publication on the Internet, City website and in hard copy form.
  • ·                  Created a process, adopted by the Planning Board and City Commission, whereby 50% of all variances can be granted by the Planning Director saving time and expense for applicants.
  • ·                  Identified and turned 34 water meters that were no longer needed at a savings of $8,000 annually.
  • ·                  Partnered with Keys Audubon Society to receive $28,500 grant to reduce potable water use at Indigenous Park by installing 7,000-gallon cistern and a salt water well.

Building Department

The City of Key West Building Department is comprised of four divisions:  front office permit technicians; plan review; inspectors; and Licensing. 

Permit technicians, Plan reviewers, Inspectors and 

Licensing:  That Issues all business tax receipts and regulatory permits; advise business owners of requirements set forth by local and state codes.

 Building Department accomplishments:

Incorporated floodplain review and FEMA requirements; striving to improve the City’s ISO and CRS   ratings.

Introduced digital scanning of all documents.

Began rewrite of local building codes.

Held first trade seminar with local construction industry.

Issued 5,503 building permits.

Conducted 9,057 inspections.

Processed 8,509 business licenses.


The Community Service Department

The Community Service Department consists of six divisions who function as a team to accomplish goals and objectives. Sharing similar skill sets, labor, and equipment allows the department to complete projects in an efficient manner. This makes it possible to provide cost effective services to our citizens and guests.

Public Works


Public Works maintains over 80 miles of City streets and maintains approximately 3 million linear feet of City rights-of way associated sidewalks, storm drains, street signs and light fixtures as well as providing   support for many special events, parades and festivals.

Historic Cemetery

This continues to be an active cemetery with over 100 internments a year. Within the fenced area, over 80,000 people are interred. A great deal of research has been done in order to digitize the burial records for all 19 acres of the historic cemetery.

Parks and Recreation

The recreation division provides citizens with well-maintained facilities and a safe environment for all to enjoy. Our staff maintains facilities that serve over 125 teams of all ages, year round.

There are many small pocket parks in Key West but these are some of the major parks:

  .     The Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center and Pool.

  • ·                  Frederick Douglass Gym: Between 75 and 100 youth utilize the facilities daily.
  • ·                  Clayton Sterling Complex, which consists of four baseball fields and batting cages
  • ·                  Rosa Hernandez Softball field is home of the Key West Girls Softball League.
  • ·                  Wickers Sports Complex is comprised of the Dewitt Robert’s softball field and George Mira football field. The complex is home of the Key West Junior Football League, the Key West men’s softball league and the jewfish over 40 softball league.
  • ·                  Sonny McCoy Indigenous Park located at the corner of Atlantic Blvd and White Street totals 10 acres; houses the bocce courts and the Wildlife Rescue.
  • ·                  Bayview Park on the corner of Truman Avenue and Jose Marti Drive its   comprised of 4 acres and offers basketball goals, tennis courts, softball field, a playground and facilities for the Boys and Girls Club.
  • ·                  An in-line hockey rink is located at the corner of Bertha and Atlantic Blvd and is home to the Southernmost Hockey League.
  • ·                  The multi-purpose ball field at Truman waterfront that we will be installing a new sprinkler system and re-sodding soon.


. This is the ultimate “green” department. Landscaping designs, implements and maintains our landscaping projects, trims trees, plants trees, and removes tree hazards from right-of-way

 Fleet Services

The City of Key West Fleet Service is responsible for repairs and maintenance on over 400 City vehicles and equipment including police, fire and the Key West Transit buses.

Facilities Maintenance

The Facilities Maintenance Team or (FMT) was established to meet the maintenance and construction needs of City of Key West. The staff provides the highest quality skills and service with electricians, welders, plumbers, A/C specialist, carpenters, mason, roofer, back flow specialist, and general construction



                     Completed construction on new mausoleums

                     Re-sodding of George Mira football field.

                     Fire suppression at all concession stands.

                     Absorbed all right of way efforts within the city of Key West that has resulted in $80,000 savings.

                     Revised the interlocal agreements between the school board and the City that has resulted in increased efforts to maintain recreational facilities for the citizens of Key West.

                     Using grant funding we were able to accelerate and complete a 5-year plan to provide battery backup lighting on Duval Street and surround corridor.

Things I will be concentrating this year

    .   Continuing to work with the business community to keep our economy.

          At the same time improving and protecting our quality of life.

     .   Continue to monitor our city budget and continue to manage the budget as the large business it is.

     .   Continue to improve our city parks for our citizens and their children.

     .   Monitor our City’s Major Projects to stay on schedule and finish within budget.

        Continue to support the Arts and Cultural activities in our community.

     .   Continue to improve on Public safety and keep Key West safe clean and green.

We need to work together as commission and a community to keep Key West moving forward and protecting our quality of life.

Thank you





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