HomeLocalPetros supports raising debt cap for resilience projects, seeks Rickenbacker cooperation

Petros supports raising debt cap for resilience projects, seeks Rickenbacker cooperation

Mayoral candidate Katie Petros said Friday she is in favor of raising Key Biscayne’s unusually restrictive borrowing cap, saying raising the borrowing limit was “reasonable” given higher costs and inflation. 

Her comments came on the Anti-Social Radio and podcast program, heard on WSQF/Blink Radio. 

“In fact, it’s significantly lower than multiple communities, some don’t have it, some have 15%, some have 25%. And those are within our county. So I think it’s very reasonable for us to assume that we could put a higher debt cap. We’re at 1%, and it would go to 2%.” 

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In 2020, voters overwhelmingly granted the Village Council the power to issue up to $100 million in general obligation bonds for resiliency projects. But the administration of Manager Steve Williamson has said overall spending for beach, stormwater, roadways, utility undergrounding, and other items could cost $250 million. Although up to 60% of some costs may come from other sources, the share paid by Key Biscayne taxpayers could be significant.

On the Rickenbacker Causeway, Petros said her focus would be on building good relationships with Miami-Dade County to advance the island’s interests, but said her preference would be to avoid privatization. 

“I personally would like to see it remain as a public entity and not a private entity, because I think that it serves the public. And if there’s a way to do that, that would be my first choice.” 

Petros also said she took her share of responsibility for the ejection of a village resident from a 2018 “sunshine meeting” she took part in, saying she was new on Council and was told that a lawyer had been contacted about closing the pension meeting. The Village attorney, Stephen Helfman, said he had advised then-Mayor Mayra Peña Lindsay to cancel the meeting.

The Village ultimately paid $35,000 to reimburse Lindsay’s legal defense costs for a criminal investigation of the closed session. No charges were filed.

“I did not have the knowledge at the time to know the distinction. And I certainly do now. And it was a mistake that I made, that I take ownership of, and, and I feel bad about that. And I hope no, I certainly learned my lesson never to be in that situation again,” Petros said.

Petros faces Fausto Gomez, a former lobbyist, and Joe Rasco, a former mayor, in an Aug. 23 primary.  

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Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.

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