Monday, January 30, 2012

City, county iron out details of snow removal; formal agreement in the works

By Morgan Rhodes
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

City and county officials held a genial meeting today to iron out details of the county’s snow removal work in the city. In stark contrast to the tension between Midway officials and some magistrates at last Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting, the atmosphere in County Judge-Executive John Coyle’s office meeting room was cordial and casual.

Meeting with Coyle were Mayor Tom Bozarth and City Councilman Aaron Hamilton, chair of the Streets and Lights Committee; Magistrate Larry Craig; and County Engineer Buan Smith. The meeting focused on finalizing a list of Midway streets to be treated and cleared.

Left to right: Hamilton, Smith, Bozarth, Coyle, Craig (Photo by Morgan Rhodes)
Smith provided a map highlighting Midway streets that will be treated by the county. Due to limited turnaround or backup space, some streets can’t be treated and plowed with couny equipment, Smith said. “There are a few of them we can’t go down,” he said. “A few streets we have tried to do in the past, but we have had problems with backing.”

After a list of streets was agreed on, the cost of treatment and plowing was briefly discussed. Smith explained that the cost will be determined using a formula accounting for equipment, salt, labor, and so on. Coyle and Bozarth agreed earlier this month that the city would reimburse the county for its costs while a formal agreement is worked out.

Coyle, Bozarth and Smith joked about the possibility of not having to worry about any more snow removal this season. Bozarth asked if Midway will be lower on the priority list in snow events. Smith said nothing would change from the way things have been done.

Asked if Smith should consult with him before beginning treatment of any kind, Bozarth replied. “Just do what was done in the past. You have to use your discretion.”

Coyle also asked if Midway wanted to be billed a lump sum at the end of the season or in some other manner. Bozarth suggested a monthly billing. Bozarth also asked if Midway could be notified of account summary information on an event basis, and Coyle agreed.

Coyle said he would send those terms to County Attorney Alan George and have a memorandum of agreement drawn up hand-delivered in time for the next Midway City Council seeting, Feb. 6.

Bozarth asked if Coyle could email the draft memorandum to Midway’s city attorney, Phil Moloney. Coyle agreed. The meeting ended in less than an hour, with handshakes and smiles.

Not mentioned at the meeting was the wish, expressed by some council members at a special meeting this morning, that the city could find a way to have the county resume doing snow removal for free. That now seems unlikely; a state official indicated to the Midway Messenger this afternoon that the county might have been doing the work without legal authority anyway. For that story, click here.

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