Monday, August 4, 2014

Council advances smoking ban, tables Chamber request, hears city will get 2nd water line to make supply reliable

The Midway City Council gave first reading this evening to ordinances that would keep the current property-tax rates and impose a smoking ordinance to replace a county health-board regulation that is almost surely unenforceable.

The proposed smoking ban was changed from the initial draft to remove a proposed enforcement board and a $1,000 penalty for a fourth violation. City attorney Phil Moloney said no fine should be more than $500, since no violation would be more than a misdemeanor.

The council agreed to table the Woodford County Chamber of Commerce's request to participate in government funding of a full-time position at the chamber, costing $30,000 a year. Council Member Grayson Vandegrift, chair of a committee Bozarth named to consider the request, said near the end of the council discussion, "We don't neccessarily feel anything's warranted at this time. . . . It just seems like a non-starter right now."

Earlier, Vandegrift said the chamber should "have some kind of forum here in Midway to gauge opinion from the community at large on whether their tax dollars should be spent on the Chamber of Commerce." Midway interests have often thought the town gets short shrift from the chamber and the meager tourism-promotion funds it handles. That money would increase if a hotel or motel was built in Midway, which seems increasingly likely, but the city could choose to set up its own tourism commission.

Cheryl Norton of Kentucky-American Water Co., the city's water supplier, said the company plans to begin construction in September of a second supply line, which would resolve the problem of frequent breaks in the only supply line, along Leestown Road. The new 12-inch line will run more than two miles from Ironworks Pike in Scott County to the Midway Station industrial area. Once teh new line is completed, hopefully in December, the old line can be worked on to help prevent breaks, Norton said.

Norton also said the company has placed a fence around the meter vault on Junior Phillips' "buffalo farm," where the supply line joins the city system. "The buffalo will no longer be standing on the concrete," she said. "We were worried they would fall in ... and it was a little disconcerting to have the buffalo come up and greet you" when reading the meter.

The council decided to charge Woodford County Habitat for Humanity only the city's cost for utility hookups to the home Habitat is building on North Winter Street. In the past, the city has charged half price. Council Member Dan Roller, who suggested charging costs only, said the house is a major improvement and will add to the tax base.

On yet another utility matter, Bozarth gave the council a proposed franchise agreement with Kentucky Utilities, revised in several ways from the current agreement, mainly in that it would run for 10 years. The current one has a 20-year term that is near expiration. Bozarth said other changes deal with notices, liability, indemnification and other facets of the relationship between the city and the electric company. The new agreement would keep the same franchise fee of 3 percent of gross receipts, which brings the city about $35,000 a year.

The council spent considerable time discussing with Jon Maybriar his failure to follow the plan he offered in applying for an encroachment permit on Cross Street, using concrete instead of brick pavers to reduce runoff.

Maybriar said pavers would have cost more than double, and his research showed very little difference in runoff from the two surfaces. The city's engineering consultant said likewise. Council Member Bruce Southworth said that if encroachment permittees don't do what they say they will do, "Why bother to get a permit?"

Bozarth said, "If there was going to be any variance in the original encroachment permit, it should have come back to the city."  Council Member Sharon Turner noted that the encroachment ordinance doesn't say permittees must do that. The council agreed that the ordinance needs to be clarified.

Council Member Sara Hicks said Maybriar "acted in good faith ... I just think we should let it go," but Roller said Maybriar should do as he offered and saw off that part of his parking-area extension that extends into the street. (Maybriar said he did that to repair blacktop that was damaged by people turning around on the spot after he had excavated it but before he poured the concrete. Turner noted that he poured it more than a year after getting the permit.) After some discussion about what that would do to drainage on the street, Bozarth said he would have the engineer take another look.

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