Should Casey Key bury its power lines? Or should the island bury the proposed underground utilities project that has been discussed on and off for nearly a decade?
In the future, Casey Key homeowners could answer those questions in a vote. But at the annual Casey Key Association (CKA) meeting Jan. 27, CKA President Bob Metzger told the approximately 175 people in attendance that a feasibility study was needed to address issues with the proposed project, including conceptual design, timing and cost. He asked attendees at the meeting — which was open to all Casey Key residents — to consider making voluntary contributions to the Casey Key Foundation to fund a $25,000 study by Danny Brannon, of the Wellington-based firm of Brannon & Gillespie LLC Consulting Engineers.
“We’re at the stage where we need to gather more hard information,” Metzger said. “If Danny’s study is done, then we should have a town hall meeting where the pros and cons of the project are presented.”
Brannon made a presentation about the project and discussed a similar project on Jupiter Island that his firm completed in 2009. He said that the project took six months to design and another two years to complete. Brannon estimated that, with possible financial incentives from Florida Power & Light, the project could cost approximately $8 million, or about $15,000 for each of Casey Key’s 440 residences.
But sparks sometimes flew during the discussion, which stretched nearly two hours.
One resident suggested that Casey Key has other priorities, including a new sewer system, which generated applause.
One woman, who said that she had withdrawn her membership from CKA, said that two of her neighbors were unaware that the CKA meeting was taking place and would be open to the public.
“I don’t know how you can realistically take a vote of property owners without them being represented here,” she said.
Former CKA President Bob Bry, who is no longer an association member, expressed similar concerns.
“What’s missing here is the voice of the people,” Bry said.
Metzger emphasized that the CKA is not currently asking residents to support the project but, rather, a study.
Toward the end of the meeting, Hank Tafaro, who is secretary/treasurer of the Casey Key Foundation, asked CKA members to approve a motion to ask for voluntary donations to the foundation to fund the study. The resolution passed.
According to Metzger, the foundation received multiple pledges after the meeting and said that the foundation will collect voluntary contributions from residents.
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected]ourobserver.com