Louisa Conway / Islander News

FL - Say No to the $100 Million Bond

Proponents for the $100 million bond argue that Key Biscayne needs to invest in resiliency initiatives to safeguard our barrier island from sea level rise, flooding; to protect the village’s beaches and shorelines, harden and protect infrastructure from hurricanes.

Most Key Biscayners would agree with that argument considering the island is surrounded on all sides by ocean. Yet no shovel-ready projects, budgets or terms for the bond have been presented to validate this $100 million milestone debt request. Issues of resiliency and sustainability are part of our island’s reality! The justification for the $100 million bond, however, is predicated on a false premise -- the island needs an immediate injection of $100 million to invest in resiliency initiatives that either have been ignored or are desperately needed.

Key Biscayne taxpayers and the village government have continuously invested in various resilience initiatives since the island’s incorporation in 1991. Since September 1998, the village implemented a floodplain mitigation management plan to align with FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which allows property owners and renters to obtain flood insurance.

The village revised its building and zoning ordinances and codes to regulate new construction in floodplain areas to be raised to withstand floods. In 1996, the village completed a stormwater management system to address the island’s chronic flooding problems, installing catch basins connected to state-of-the-art deep injection wells to minimize flood damage.

The storm-water system needs rehabilitation, and the council in September 2019 approved an increase in the stormwater tax utility by 50% to fund the maintenance, as well as a $19 million stormwater utility bond to upgrade the system pipes and structures. The stormwater bond is excluded from the $100 million bond.

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