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“Council Countdown” from Keysweekly.com

October 3rd, 2010

Council Countdown

The Weekly Newspapers

By: Jason Koler

Commercial fishermen and three-term councilman Pete Worthington first served on the Council from 2002-2004, lost his seat, and was subsequently re-elected in 2006, and 2008. Worthington is already the longest serving council member in the history of Marathon and if re-elected in November, he will have served on the dais for nine years when he term limits out in 2012.

“We are receptive to the people’s issues with city government,” he said. “That is the key thing. If people are unhappy they can come to us with complaints.”

Worthington said the next Council needs to be more active in protecting property values through beautification, code enforcement, and tourism. He feels the a commercial carrier at the Marathon Airport should be a priority and is frustrated that the Council did not vote to support the Chamber of Commerce’s plea for funds earlier this year. (Worthington and Cinque lost a 3-2 vote.) He cited the Council’s support of FIRM as an example of how the city can spend money to save money.

“After we supported FIRM, my personal premium went from $7,400 to $3,700. If we did that for 7000 households, that’s major!”


Pete Worthington in his own words.

September 30th, 2010

*From The Marathon Journal questionnaire* 

310 Calzada De Bougainvillea
Marathon, FL. 33050
(305) 289-0792

1. How does the City of Marathon live with less tax revenue due to property devaluation and still provide high quality services?

Make cuts to costs associated with some of the departments.

2. What actions would you undertake to improve Fire/EMS services?

Install more hydrants as money becomes available. Replace equipment when it has served it’s life of duty, Maintain equipment in top condition. Actively involve volunteers and part time firefighters to help with the work load of the department..

3. How will the City of Marathon improve the local economy?

Continue getting grants for improving our sewers, parks, roads. Supporting local events, Keeping our tax dollars local when ever possible with contracts. Maintaining a clean, safe, community that maintains it’s property values. Support commercial air service, and support our city marina and Boot Key Harbor.

4. If elected for 2 years, what will you do specifically to solve the affordable and workforce housing crisis?

Continue to support the proposed projects and groups working on affordable housing solutions.

5. What is the next important city project after the wastewater / stormwater project is completed?

Getting a commercial airline servicing Marathon. This is critical to the tourism businesses in Marathon. It is important to the Resorts and Vacation Rentals not only in Marathon but the entire middle keys. It is also important in getting some of our hotels redeveloping. But most of all it is important in maintaining property values of our homes and business and resorts.

6. How does the City of Marathon attract tourists during the two seasons? Especially, the summer months.

By helping with access to Marathon by air. By maintaining a community that is safe, clean, attractive, and gives the feeling it is a place they want to return to. It is the job of the business community to attract tourist to our City by offering services, hotel diving, fishing, to bring people to vacation.

7. What actions must the city take to relieve the insurance burden for residents?

Continue to support the FIRM Organization with lobbying efforts and dollars if necessary. The City has supported FIRM the past four years I have been on the Council.

8. What are the city’s various funding sources and which one is the direct burden of the city’s residents?

Ad Valorem taxes, infrastructure taxes, communication taxes, sewer assessments, grant monies, road improvement taxes, & impact fees, with ad valorem taxes and sewer assessments having the biggest impact.  This year as a result of stimulus finding from the federal government this has been a windfall for the City in grants for sewers.  In the last 19 months the City has received in excess of $16.5 million dollars from Army Corps ARRA funds.  These funds are distributed by representatives of FKNMS Water Quality Committee representing 6 municipalities throughout the Keys for sewer and storm water projects.  I have been Marathon’s representative on this committee from 2002 – 2004 and from 2006 – present.

9. How big is the city’s slice of the overall ad valorem taxes collected countywide?

Just under 15% for 2009-2010.

10. What steps must the city take to address historical preservation within Marathon?

That has been addressed in our comprehensive plan and LDR’s, and needs to be enforced.

11. Do you take all campaign contributions from anyone or are you selective? Why?

Selective. I have turned down contributions in the past. I did not want the perception that I owe any special interest group anything more that I would any others.

12.Should Marathon annex Duck Key? Why or why not?

That should be up to the residents and businesses of Duck Key to make that decision. The costs associated with that process needs to be explored by both entities.

13. Should Marathon build and operate some kind of municipal swimming pool? Why or why not?

I do not support a pool built by and maintained by the City. I do not feel it is supported by a majority of the residents.

14. What are the limits of developments and redevelopments?

That is defined in our LDR’s and comprehensive plan. There are about 550 vacant lots in Marathon. It would take a long time with our current B-Pass to build out. That won’t happen in our lifetime.

15. What are the limits of property rights?

That is defined by the Constitution of the United States.

16. How would you beautify the US1 corridor and pay for same?

I will continue to support code enforcement on abandoned buildings, and un-kept properties. Our LDR’S define redevelopment of our commercial corridor. I support planting some trees and plants with the recommendation of our Beautification Committee, paid for by grants and mitigation fees.

17. What use should Boot Key [the island] play in Marathon’s future?

The City should not buy Boot Key.  The State of Florida and Florida Forever should purchase it for conservation. It would make a great place for eco tours. The mixed use commercial portion could continue operating if the city would provide a ferry service to the island. I do not support spending up to 10 million dollars fixing the 50 year old bridge.

18. How can we increase the number of workforce families in the City of Marathon?

Offer good paying jobs, housing that people can afford, and good schools for families to sent their children to.

19. How can the City of Marathon retain valuable employees and increase their value in training?

We currently are maintaining employees that are both experienced and qualified in their jobs.

20. Should there be a decrease or increase in city employees? Why or why not?

The employee level needs to be able to maintain the level of service to the taxpayers. When that level drops, job performance, employee staffing levels need to be evaluated by the city manager.

21. How do you resolve the calls for lower taxes and increased calls for more high-quality city services?

There is a balance required. Services are important to maintain. The City has one of the lowest tax rates in the State of Florida. I will continue to consider both, but will be careful to ensure necessary services are not cut to simply achieve lower taxes.

22. Should the city designate the western portion of Coco Plum Beach as a nude beach following the Haulover Beach model in North Miami Beach? Why or why not?

I have not heard from my constituents on this issue. Until I do, it is not an issue with me.

23. Should building permits be tied to the evacuation time model? Why or why not?

The State has a mandated evacuation time.  I support controlled growth that would allow for evacuation safety.

24. Should council members raise or lower their pay? Why?

I think the pay is adequate. It takes time, and costs money to sit on the Council. $1,350 per month is good.

25. What must the city do to get minorities involved at all levels of the city?

I think it is up to individuals to get involved, not the City. Anyone can apply to any committee or job in the City without being discriminated against.  I have made appointments of minority groups, such as Hispanic’s and women to several boards in the past and will continue to make appointments based on a person’s willingness to serve the residents of Marathon.

Political Advertisement Paid For & Approved by Pete Worthington for Marathon City Council

*From The Marathon Journal questionnaire* 

Community Memberships

September 28th, 2010

Past Member:
Marathon Jaycees 1983 – 1989
Florida Keys Artificial Reef Association 1982 – 1983
Boot Key Harbor Ad Hoc Committee 1989 – 1993
Boot Key Harbor Committee 1995 – 2001
Florida Keys Water Quality Committee 1989 – 1990
Florida Keys Amateur Radio Club 1991-2006

Present Member:
Marathon City Council 2002 – 2004 & 2006- present
Organized Fisherman of Florida 1981 – present
R.A.C.E.S. Emergency Communication Emergency
Operations Center 1992 – present
Seafood Festival Volunteer “Chief Fish Fryer” 1981– present
Radio Communications – 7 Mile Bridge Run 1993 – present
Monroe County Marine Port Advisory 2000 – present
Amateur Radio Relay League 1991 – present
Fl Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Assn Board Member 2008-2010
Monroe County Transportation Board 2006-present
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality Committee 2002 – 2004 & 2006-present

Meet Pete Worthington

September 26th, 2010

Campaign Kick Off Party – Meet Pete!

Keys Fisheries Restaurant

Monday – September 27, 2010

meet pete worthington

Experienced Leadership
Pete’s been involved with Marathon for 25 years

• Fiscal Responsibility

-Worked on seven budgets resulting in tax decreases below rollback every year
-Succeeded in receiving  $23 Million in grant funding for Marathon’s sewer project and other city projects

• Accomplishments in Office

-Mooring field at Boot Key harbor completed

-Acquired three pump out boats with grant funds

-City sewer construction is 75% completed for Marathon

-Improved fire service with an additional 24 fire hydrants installed & fire station  maintained on Grassy Key

-Supported hiring an experienced professional Manager for the city