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09/18/2005 ~ The Utility Board approved Keys Energy Servicesí (KEYS) Housing Opportunities Made Easy (HOME) Program to assist in retaining qualified employees with the affordable housing crisis affecting the Florida Keys.

KEYS HOME program will initially assist employees who wish to rent a home. Renting a home typically requires the first monthís rent, the last monthís rent and a security deposit to move in. Employees who have completed their six-month probationary period can apply for a loan to cover the last monthís rent and a security deposit. The employee must pay the loan back to KEYS through payroll deductions within 12 to 18 months, and each employee loan will be capped based on a formula tied to their hourly rate of pay.

Additional phases in KEYS HOME program, which will be brought before the Board as they are developed, include expansion of the loan program to include probationary employees, down payment assistance, and affordable housing construction on Cudjoe Key.

The HOME program will be a no-cost program for KEYS. The total amount loaned to all employees at any given time is capped at one-half a percent of the budgeted total regular wages for the fiscal year. For Fiscal year 2006, beginning October 1st, this amount is approximately $41,000.

In other business, the Board:

- Dedicated the Pocket Park at the corner of Flagler Avenue and 18th Street in Alvin Frazier IIIís memory.

- Approved the Fiscal Year 2006 Budget and Five-Year Financial Plan (2006 to 2010) after a Public Hearing on said Budget and Financial Plan.

- Approved the two year renewal option for Mr. Nathan E. Eden, Attorney at Law, to remain as legal counsel for the Utility Board.

- Approved the renewal of Workerís Compensation insurance with the Florida League of Cities, for the period from October 1, 2005 through September 30, 2006, in the amount of $175,775; to be paid in quarterly installments.

- Awarded the contract for air conditioning maintenance services to D&V Commercial A/C, for an estimated annual cost of $37,640.00, their bid being the best bid complying with specifications.

The regular meeting of the Utility Board took place at 5:00 p.m., September 14th, in the Louis Carbonell Board Room of the William Arnold Service Building, 1001 James Street, Key West.

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