Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Council nixes primaries, OKs new fish-farm agreement, hears of property-maintenance deal, History Day April 2

Candidates for city office in Midway won't have to file their papers more than 11 months before taking office, under an ordinance passed Monday evening by the City Council.

State law allows cities with nonpartisan elections to opt out of the law that requires a primary if the number of candidates is more than twice the number of seats available, such as 13 or more for Midway's six-member council.

The council apparently voted to do that more than a decade ago, but failed to make note in its minutes, so the ordinance had to be re-enacted to take effect. The city hasn't had a primary election for at least 60 years, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said.

The change, which will take effect in 2018, will mean that candidates won't have to file their papers until early August, instead of late January. "Most people are in hibernation at that time," Council Member Libby Warfield quipped.

"They're not thinking about it," Vandegrift agreed, predicting, "You're going to get a better pool of candidates" with a later filing deadline for the November elections. Seven candidates are running for the six council seats this fall; member Dan Roller is retiring.

The city will move the pile of dirt and lumber and bill the owner.
Vandegrift reported that the situation with an abandoned log house in the 200 block of East Higgins Street is being resolved, with the property owner doing most of the fix-up and clean-up. He said the owner was unable to move the pile of dirt and lumber in front of the house, so agreed to have the city do that and be billed for the use of employees and equipment. This will mark the first time the city has done work to enforce its property-maintenance ordinance and billed the owner.

The council authorized Vandegrift to sign a revised agreement with Advancing Sustainable Aquaculture Performance, which operates a small-scale fish farm at the old sewage-treatment plant. It will allow ASAP to use the basement and office building for an extra $50 a month plus the additional utility costs, and to conduct retail sales of fish, which Warfield could be used to stock local farm ponds.

The council also approved an event permit for the Bluegrass Cycling Club's annual Horsey Hundred race to pass through the city on various routes Saturday, May 28, with a rest stop at the Methodist Church. About 2,500 cyclists typically participate. "They come from everywhere," including Europe, Council Member Kaye Nita Gallagher said.

Vandegrift said he would continue to pursue the idea of regular, three-way meetings with the Versailles City Council, which has endorsed the idea, and the Woodford County Fiscal Court, which has been skeptical. The mayor said he has been working well with County Judge-Executive John Coyle on some issues, and may arrange for the council to attend a fiscal-court meeting to discuss the idea. He said the Madison County Fiscal Court meets quarterly with the councils of Richmond and Berea, and "Only good things can come from that."

In other business, Dee Dee Roach told the council that the history committee of Midway Renaissance is reviving its observance of Midway History Day, April 2 from 11 to 2 at the Christian Church. She invited community members to bring photographs and other historical artifacts to share. A scanner will be available to copy photos.

"We want to hold on to this history before we lose some of our older members," Roach said. "We really hope we can do something every year."

After the council meeting, about 35 people attended a public hearing on the future of Walter Bradley Park. The Messenger will report on it later.

No comments: