The District was formed as a special district with the election of inaugural commissioners on November 5, 2002, as provided in Chapter 2002-337, Florida Statutes. The District’s mission includes the introduction and operation of advanced wastewater treatment and disposal infrastructure to serve all residents and commercial operations on the unincorporated island of Key Largo by the year 2010.
The District’s activities in FY2003 and FY2004 were focused on administrative responsibilities associated with organization of a new public utility and on implementing a demonstration project to serve 920 residential and commercial customers in the Key Largo Trailer Village and Key Largo Park communities. Contracts to design and build a demonstration project consisting of a 0.183 mgd (million gallons per day) wastewater treatment plant and to install collection systems serving 1,000 EDU’s (equivalent dwelling units) were awarded. Administrative expenses totalling approximately $675,000 were funded by Monroe County grants and MSTU ad valorem tax revenues. Project costs totalling $1,253,232 were funded by federal, state and local grants.
In FY2005 and FY2006 the District commenced construction of the Key Largo Trailer Village and Key Largo Park demonstration project, initiating service to customers in May, 2006. The District also focused on the expansion of service to serve the northern half of the island by initiating the design and engineering of the North Components project. This project consisted of expansion of the treatment plant from 0.183 to 2.30 mgd to ultimately serve the entire island with a single regional treatment facility, construction of a main transmission line serving the northern half of the island, and installing vacuum collection systems in the four northern service areas. Construction of the North Transmission force main was initiated in July, 2006. Contracts for design and engineering of the regional treatment plant and the collection systems serving 3,700 EDU’s associated with the North Components project were also awarded. Administrative expenses totalling $1,250,445 were funded by MSTU ad valorem tax revenues and charges for service to customers. Project costs totalling $12,863,688 were funded by federal, state and local grants and loans.
In FY2007 and FY2008 the District focused on construction of the North Components project. A north transmission force main was completed. Construction in all four northern service area collection systems was undertaken (Basins A, B, C, and D), and construction of the 2.3 mgd treatment plant expansion was initiated in October, 2008. The District also initiated design and engineering of a South Components project consisting of a transmission line to serve the southern half of the island and installation of vacuum collection systems in seven southern service areas (Basins E – K). Administration and system operating expenses totalling approximately $2,638,000 were funded by MSTU ad valorem tax revenues and charges for service to customers. Project costs totalling approximately $20,913,000 were funded by federal, state and local grants and loans, including approximately $4,044,000 from an inter-local grant agreement with Monroe County.
In FY2009, the subject year of this report, construction of the North Components collection systems was essentially completed. Expansion of the regional treatment plant continued with completion of a 3,700 ft. deep well and all treatment tanks. Construction of the South Components project was initiated in Basins E and F. Administration and system operating expenses totalling approximately $1,558,000 were funded by MSTU ad valorem tax revenues, charges for service to customers, and a bank line of credit. Project costs totalling approximately $36,602,000 were funded by federal, state and local grants and loans, including approximately $4,107,000 from an inter-local grant agreement with Monroe County.
Beginning in 2005, the District has annually pursued a policy of special assessments on all parcels to be benefited by new construction 1-2 years preceding service availability. This policy was continued in 2009 with the levy of a special assessment on essentially all remaining parcels in the District’s service area. The assessments on the benefiting property owners are intended to recover a portion of the cost of the improvements. Each parcel owner has the choice to pay the assessment in full or as a non ad valorem tax over a 20 year period. Assessment revenues for FY2013 totalled approximately $5,026,000.
In FY 2011 District completed its 2.3 mgd (million gallons per day) regional treatment plant and placed it into service. This facility is currently meeting Advanced Wastewater Treatment Standards (AWT). In FY 2012 the vacuum collection system was completed an all areas, north and south are in full operations. The grinder pump project that commenced during FY 2012 continued on through FY 2013. The grinder pump project will provide centralized sewer service to properties where it was cost prohibitive to provide a vacuum based collection system. Another major accomplishment in FY 2012 was the District entering into a inter-local agreement with the Islamorada Village of Islands to treat its wastewater, and sell treatment plant capacity space of 1.104 million gallons of average daily flow. In FY 2013 the District was heavily involved in lobbying to the State of Florida for funding for the Florida Keys for the wastewater projects. The District is slated to receive approximately $17,000,000 in State funding of the next $50,000,000 allocation that the Florida Keys are seeking for project funding.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided substantial grant funding totalling $13.5 million in addition to an additional 2.5 million in other grant funding provided by the Army Corps of Engineers. Additionally, subsequent to 2013 the District was awarded a $1,000,000 grant from FDEP that is being used towards the grinder pump project. The State Revolving Fund Program (SRF) has provided over $52,000,000 on low interest loans through September 30, 2013.