Bug board starts budget talks, sees term-limits proposal

Florida Keys Mosquito Control District commissioners will begin budget talks for a 2017-18 spending plan when they meet Tuesday in the Middle Keys.

They also will see the first draft of proposed state legislation that would impose term limits on the five-member board.

“The budget will certainly be reduced from last year,” said Commissioner Phil Goodman, adding he could not discuss proposed budget numbers just yet.

Last fall, in the final hours of budget planning, commissioners voted down a budget that would have resulted in a 41 percent tax hike because of new buildings in the Lower Keys. The savings brought the budget down by $2 million from a proposed budget of $15.4 million. Commissioners approved a total budget of $13.4 million with a tax rate of $58.31 per $100,000 of assessed property value.

Dirk Smits, attorney for the district, will present his first draft of the term-limits bill that will go to state Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and state Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami and the Keys) to introduce in the state Legislature in its 2018 session.

In June, the board voted for a limit of three four-year terms for commissioners. If a commissioner serves part of a four-year term and quits, it is still considered a full term served.

Currently, terms are four years with no limits on the number one can serve. That will change if the state Legislature approves because the Mosquito Control District was legislatively created. Should that happen, the term limits will take effect after each current commissioner has finished his or her term in the seat.

The board meets at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mosquito Control’s building at 503 107th St., Marathon, bayside for a budget workshop. The regular meeting will start at 1 p.m.

Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219