Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Council won't meet tonight; meeting called for next Mon.

The Midway City Council meeting scheduled for 5:30 tonight has been canceled due to inclement weather. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift has called a special meeting for Monday, Jan. 22, at 5:30 at City Hall. (The council usually meets on Mondays but was to meet tonight because of yesterday's holiday.)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

'On a Winter's Night Community Artist Showcase' starts; all events to be held in The Homeplace community room

The first "On a Winter's Night Community Artist Showcase" was held in the community building at The Homeplace at Midway tonight. From left are Brett Franklin, Leslie Penn, Blake Jones and Bill Penn. Jones said he organized the series to give Midwegians something to do during the winter lull and spotlight the talents of the many artists in the community. Jones is a multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter who has lived in Midway with his family since 2000. He grew up in a family of eight and traveled the country with The Jones Family Band, with which he stills plays at the Midway Fall Festivals. His music ranges from traditional bluegrass to contemporary folk music. He is a professor at the University of Kentucky, and a therapist in private practice.
The next showcase will be held Jan. 28 at the Homeplace and will feature The Hills and Mayor Grayson Vandegrift. Feb. 11 at the Midway Woman's Club, Sara Day Evans will perform and Bob Rouse will read. Feb. 25 at Higher Grounds will be "Open Mic Night." March 4 at The Homeplace, Midway University students and Aaron Hamilton will perform. The series will conclude March 18 at Eat, Drink, Breathe Midway with Nathaniel Wyatt and Bruce Skeeter. Each showcase begins with an open jam session at 5:30 p.m., and the shows start at 6:30 p.m., all at The Homeplace. All ages are welcome.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Council panel endorses proposed contract that would have city pay 4.25 percent of Versailles' police costs

Midway would pay 4.25 percent of Versailles' police costs under a proposed five-year contract endorsed by a committee of the Midway City Council Wednesday. That would be about $166,000 for the next fiscal year but could be more as costs increase.

Bruce Southworth, chair of the Public Works and Services Committee, told the members that Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott wanted to base the contract on a percentage, not a flat fee, because of uncertainty about what the city will have to pay into its pension fund as part of the state pension crisis.

Versailles' police budget is $3.9 million a year, which would make the first year's payment $165,975 if the Midway council approves the contract. That would be 66 percent more than the current annual cost of $100,000, but Midway officials have long expected a big increase; the Woodford County Fiscal Court has already agreed to pay Versailles more -- $1.4 million, or 38 percent of the city's police budget -- for patrolling the unincorporated areas of the county.

Southworth said the cost of the proposed contract for Midway in the first year would be $101 per person. "I think it's fair," he said.

Council Member John McDaniel said the amount was lower than he expected, and said that he expects Versailles will be accommodating "if we need things done." The current contracts calls for police coverage in the city limits 16 hours a day, with the third shift available on call.

The other committee member, Council Member Kaye Nita Gallagher, agreed but reiterated her feeling that the police patrols aren't visible enough. "They're going to have to police more," she said. But she also agreed with McDaniel and Southworth that the city couldn't afford to re-establish its own police department for that amount of money.

If approved by the council, the new contract would go into effect July 1, the beginning of the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The committee also discussed a request by Gary Smith to extend a city water line to his recently purchased half-acre lot at 5799 Midway Road (US 62), just outside the southern city limits, near the veterinary clinic. The members agreed that Smith should pay the cost of the extension, which would probably involve boring and casing under the road, but that the city should not require annexation of the property for extension of the line.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Council panel to discuss police contract Wed. morning

The Public Works and Services Committee of the Midway City Council will meet at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10, at City Hall to discuss the contract with the City of Versailles for police protection, which ends June 30 and is being renegotiated. The agenda also includes discussion of a water-line extension on South Winter Street.

The notice from City Hall says no action will be taken. Action on the contract will be up to the full council. All council and committee meetings are open to the public.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

As city accumulates cash from payrolls, mayor says he wants a cut in property taxes, not the occupational tax

By Lizzy Allen
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Midway piled up more than $950,000 in its general fund at the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year, according to an audit report released at the council meeting on Tuesday.

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said after the meeting that he hopes to use this extra money, which comes mainly from payroll-tax revenue, to cut property taxes – and to make capital improvements to the city’s water and sewer systems, if he is assured of the legal authority to do that.

“I don’t know exactly what the rates will be, but . . . I’m planning on making significant cuts to property taxes,” Vandegrift said. In recent years the city has made small reductions in property-tax rates, but largely to compensate for higher property assessments

Jason Strange, certified public accountant for Stiles, Carter & Associates, an Elizabethtown-based firm that did the audit, noted that the payroll-tax revenue from workers in Midway was considerably higher than anticipated, bringing in over $100,000 more than the budgeted $400,000.

Based on the 2016-2017 collections, $500,000 is budgeted for payroll-tax revenue in the current fiscal year that ends June 30. Although this is a 25 percent increase from last year’s budget, Vandegrift said he is “confident we are going to exceed that.” He noted that the new Lakeshore Learning Materials distribution center has 130 employees, none of whom were on the payroll in the 2016-17 fiscal year.
The Lakeshore Learning Materials plant is shown on Oct. 24, just over a week before it began making shipments.
Though the payroll tax provides an increasing share of the city’s revenue, Vandegrift said he would rather lower property tax rates for citizens of Midway than lower the payroll tax, since most who pay it don’t live in Midway do not.

Although Strange said that the audit report was “clean,” he did point out that the Midway Fire Department made two purchases without first completing the corresponding purchase orders. These purchases totaled over $500, Strange said in an interview.

When Council Member Kaye Nita Gallagher asked about the issue, Vandegrift said kt “should have never happened,” but the purchases had been approved, just without purchase orders.

The audit report is a draft, but Strange said he does not expect any changes.

At the meeting, the council also approved a permit for the Iron Horse Marathon, which will be held Sunday, Oct. 14.

The meeting was held on Tuesday instead of Monday, New Year's Day. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 16, because Monday of that week is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Streams flow as more icy weather is forecast

A light snowfall just as the current cold snap began added to the picturesque scene Monday afternoon at the Weisenberger Mill and its dam on South Elkhorn Creek, seen less these days because the bridge there remains closed. Meanwhile, Lee Branch was still running in Walter Bradley Park, below, but ice floes were beginning to form along the banks. Temperatures are not forecast to rise above freezing until Sunday, but streams in the Midway area are partly spring-fed and thus slower to freeze than if they were fed entirely from surface tributaries.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Ministerial association to hold 2nd Frozen Rails 5K on Jan. 1; register online or get packet Dec. 30 or race day

The Midway Ministerial Association is staging the second Annual Frozen Rails 5K on Monday, Jan. 1, starting at 2 p.m., with the start and finish at the corner of Main and Winter streets. The race will benefit the association, which expects 300 or more runners to participate.

All pre-registered runners and walkers will receive a long-sleeved T-shirt while supplies last. Registration packets can be picked up at Midway Christian Church Saturday, Dec. 30 from 1 to 3 p.m., or on race day, or runners can register online at https://runsignup.com/Race/KY/Midway/NewYearsDay5KInMidway.