Monday, May 18, 2015

Council gives first reading to anti-discrimination ordinance, hears and answers questions from Warfield

Midway City Council Member Libby Warfield posed a battery of questions Monday night as the council gave first reading to the proposed "fairness ordinance" that would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and familial status.

Warfield's questions were answered mainly by Mayor Grayson Vandegrift annd city attorney Phil Moloney, but Council Members Dan Roller, Kaye Nita Gallagher and Sarah Hicks also replied, explaining and supporting language Moloney had drafted.

When Warfield asked how an employer would know a prospective employee's sexual orientation, Gallagher said a person who believed they had been a victim of discrimination would have the burden of proving that had happened.

The ordinance would apply to employers with more than seven employees. Warfield argued that it would apply to very few employers in Midway, but Hicks said that could change, and Roller cited the new McDonald's restaurant as an example.

Warfield said the city could be on the hook for legal expenses of a case that was appealed in court. Vandegrift said several people in Midway had volunteered to contribute to a restricted fund that could be used for such expenses.

The council does not hold votes (and usually does not hold discussions) on first readings. Vandegrift said after the meeting that the second reading would be held at the council's next meeting, Monday, June 1. If the ordinance passes, Midway would be the eighth Kentucky city with such a law.

The council also held first reading of the proposed city budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. It calls for expenses of about $1,114,264 and keeping the city's unbudgeted surplus at $600,000.

Significant changes include fire department maintenance and equipment, $41,685, up from $17,000, reflecting planned purchase of protective clothing; street equipment, $14,800, up from $10,989, reflecting the planned purchase of a truck; cemetery equipment, $14,800, up from $5,000, reflecting planned purchase of a truck; cemetery maintenance, $50,000, up from $35,000, reflecting sidewalk and roof repairs; City Hall maintenance, $20,000, up from $15,000, reflecting the planned purchase of a new entry door; and donations, $3,500, down from $10,000 in the current year. However, there are line items for new recipients of donations: $1,500 for the Woodford County Chamber of Commerce and $1,000 for Midway College (which becomes Midway University on July 1).

The council gave approval on second reading to the ordinance that slightly increases garbage rates, to $12 a month from $11.95 for residential pickup and $25.50 a month for businesses.

Vandegrift announced that the annual Memorial Day service at the cemetery will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, May 25.

For a PDF of the ordinances, the budget and the rest of the council's meeting packet, click here.

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