Condo presidents council hear both sides of the GO Bond issue
Two Key Biscayne Village Council members with vastly different takes on a Nov. 3 referendum regarding the use of General Obligation (GO) Bonds took their war of words — pro and con — to the audience of the Thursday’s virtual meeting of the Key Biscayne Condominium President’s Council (KBCPC) annual meeting n.
After a brief session for official business, the organization’s members and others on the Zoom meeting listened as Vice Mayor Brett Moss (pro-GO bonds) and Council member Luis Lauredo (con-GO bonds) make their presentations. The various presidents will take the matter back to their respective condominium members. Eventually, the KBCPC will decide whether or not to enforce the bonds.
First up at the Thursday meeting was Moss, who made a strong, factually based argument pro bond, saying he wanted to make sure residents knew the facts in the wake of “misleading” information being disseminated, including: that the council wanted to immediately borrow $100 million; that the village needed the $100 million as an “infusion” into an ailing village budget; and that the referendum represented giving future council a “blank check.”
The GO Bonds referendum specifies the projects being funded would address sea level rise and flooding, protecting beaches and shorelines and hardening infrastructure.
Even if the referendum vote fails, Moss said, the village council will follow the same process in considering the projects — getting public input and voting at various stages of the process. “The process will still be the same,” he said, requiring a supermajority vote of 5 out of 7 council members to borrow money for the projects. “It’s asking, do you want us to have the option to get a better interest rate to protect our assets?’’
Moss and GO Bond supporters believe the Nov. 3 Presidential election will mean more village voters considering the referendum. If approved, he said, the village will save money because GO Bonds offer longer terms and often better interest rates. The measure “sends a good message out” that the council is working efficiently to secure its future, he added.
Lauredo countered with a discussion of the philosophy behind Key Biscayne at its founding, which he noted was keyed on a “small but efficient government.” The council member noted several times that the village budget had grown by several million dollars over the last six years, with little to show for it.
Moss later countered that property values have gone up during that time, now totaling more than $8 billion.
Lauredo doubled down on his use of the word “blank check” because he said the referendum would mean residents would, in effect, forfeit their right to have individual voter referendums on each project. That would be preferable, he said. Lauredo called the issue a “turning point in the community” and said his opinion is shared among a “silent majority” of Key Biscayne residents.
“What (the referendum) is not is a vote on whether or not you support resiliency,” he said. “I am a strong advocate of infrastructure improvements like undergrounding. (The GO bond vote) is specifically about managing our village,” he said. He prefers residents keep the right to vote on projects on a project-by-project basis.
Thursday’s meeting was attended by more than 60 at its peak.