Key Biscayne

Key Biscayne approves budget including more money for marine patrol

The Key Biscayne Village Council has approved its 2015 budget, which will include an expansion of the police department’s marine patrol unit.

Council members voted 6-1 to approve the budget Tuesday night, with council member Edward London dissenting. London wanted an increase to the building, planning and zoning department’s budget and cuts in the police budget.

The budget includes new expenses in the police department for two new marine patrol officers and another marine patrol boat. Police Chief Charles Press told the council that the department has the money within its own budget to purchase the new vessel and the equipment necessary for the boat and marine officers.

The council voted 5-2 to maintain a tax rate of $3 per $1,000 of taxable home value. Council members Michael E. Kelly and Edward London dissented. Both wanted to reduce the tax rate because the village has a substantial savings.

A few of the residents in attendance did not want the council to lower the tax rate. Village resident Pat Woodson addressed the council on making plans to tackle sea level rise.

“I feel that addressing our plans for sea level rise is urgent and that touching the millage before we have an idea of what those future expenses might be would be irresponsible,” Woodson said.

The council also voted unanimously on a $5.4 million capital improvements plan.

Council members had different ideas on how to use the money and what projects needed to be taken on. Possibilities included a senior or cultural center, a gym at MAST Academy, or a recreation center on Virginia Key.

The council scheduled a capital improvements plan workshop to further discuss potential projects Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at Village Hall, 88 W. McIntyre St.