With unease over the price tag for the Big Dig, the question is how can the Village cut costs and still meet the challenge of sea level rise?
On Tuesday, a hugely consequential vote is on the agenda: to embrace a less ambitious set of targets to remove flood waters from island streets. In turn, that will give engineers a green light to come up with 13 “variants” aimed at trimming the estimated $310 million cost.
The Council already set flood control targets 20 months ago by unanimous vote. But debate over the cost delayed some critical work — and Village Manager Steve Williamson is hoping to get the intricate timeline back on track.
At a community meeting last week, he reiterated the first goal is to start construction next year in the often-flooded neighborhood surrounding the K-8 school. You can hear more of his goals in the Anti-Social podcast.
Council members held a workshop on Oct. 26 where they heard from the engineering firm AECOM how to bring down costs of the projects. The question is how much flooding is the Village willing to accept?
On the table will be a proposal to revise downward the definition of a “big storm” and allowing storm water to accumulate in streets for a defined period of time.
Williamson is making the hard sell to residents, emphasizing that the infrastructure project is absolutely critical to the survival of the island.
“It’s about protecting you all, your property and your quality of life,” he said at a community meeting on the topic last Wednesday. “We all know we are seeing more flooding, and we are expecting more sea level rise and that there are environmental changes.”
Also on tap at the Council meeting:
Williamson is set to discuss hiring a new lobbyist for the Village, but the name was not provided in advance of the meeting.
The Village severed ties with lobbyist Jonathan Kilman and his firm Converge Public Strategies. Kilman pursued $3 million for a stormwater pilot project to be placed on Key Biscayne despite being told not to do so by Williamson.
The money went to the Wellington-based Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where Kilman sits on the governing board.
Mayor Joe Rasco plans to address further enforcement of rules covering e-bikes and scooters, while Council Member Brett Moss wants to address golf cart age limits.
A $98,000 work order is up for approval for an architect company to design renovations for Village Hall.