Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Property tax to drop slightly, Northside Drive to be repaved, park to get soccer field and walking trail

The city property tax is about to drop slightly, Northside Drive is about to be resurfaced, the city park is about to get a soccer field and tree-lined walking trail, and some owners of blighted properties are about to feel a crackdown from the city.

Those were the major items of business at Monday evening's Midway City Council meeting.

The council heard first reading of an ordinance that would lower the city's property tax rate to 10.2 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, down from the current rate of 10.7 cents per $100.

The new rate would produce about the same amount of revenue because real-estate assessments in the city have risen above $100 million and there is $400,000 worth of new property. The council can increase revenue from existing property by 4 percent without being subject to a petition for a referendum.

The council also heard first reading of another ordinance that would leave the rate on personal property at 14 cents per $100.

A pothole on Northside Drive (Photo by Katherine Stach)
The council accepted Lexington Blacktop's bid of $11,407 for extra work on Northside Drive, which the firm will repave under a $59,500 bid accepted earlier. The firm's Johnny Merritt said several potholes stem from a "sub-grade failure" and need to be excavated and filled with asphalt.

Council Member Steven Craig asked what will happen if the potholes come back. Merritt said the firm guarantees its work for a year, then added, "They won't. They shouldn't." Vandegrift said the street was built 20 to 25 years ago and has never been resurfaced.

The council agreed to let the Derby City Rovers, a soccer team of 8- to 10-year-old girls, use a flat area at Walter Bradley Park for a soccer field if they provide proof of insurance. They will also use goals that the city has on hand.

"This is not going to be a state-of-the-art soccer field," said John Holloway, who is spearheading improvements at the park. "it's something that can be used for kids."

Holloway reported that he has laid out a new walking trail for the park, which students from Midway University will mulch Saturday. Fifteen trees will be planted along the trail, as indicated on the map, on which the trail route is red.

Council Member Dan Roller, chair of the blighted property committee, listed four properties that would be referred to the building inspector to determine whether they had been abandoned: 216 E. Higgins St., 259 W. Higgins, 313 N. Winter and the brick house at the corner of Higgins and Turner streets. He added that several outbuildings are in bad shape, with roofs collapsing and "open to varmints," and recommended that they also be referred to the inspector.

Declaration of abandonment is up to the city's Vacant Property Review Board, which Vandegrift said needs new members. He complimented Roller, who is not seeking re-election this fall, for his work on the issue during six years on the council.

Roller said the committee had surveyed the town and agreed that property maintenance is much better than a few years ago, when the city began to crack down on violators, but "There's a number of properties just sitting there, not being improved, not being occupied, nothing being done." He said just mowing grass isn't sufficient to keep a property from being declared abandoned.

Sign on North Winter Street
Vandegrift announced that signs were erected Monday on major streets to mark the boundaries of the Midway Historic District. He thanked Dee Dee Roach and Bill and Leslie Penn, of the history committee of Midway Renaissance, for getting the work done.

In other business, the council voted to give $400 to the Woodford County Human Rights Commission, which had asked for an unspecified amount of support toward its $2,400 annual budget. Vandegrift said County Judge-Executive John Coyle had suggested that the county's three governments fund the commission at the same shares as other joint agencies. That was "sort of meager," Vandegrift said, suggesting $300. Council Member Bruce Southworth moved to give $400 and the rest agreed.

The next meeting of the council will be held Tuesday, Sept. 6, due to the Labor Day holiday. Vandegrift said he hopes to have at that meeting a list of sidewalks to be repaired with city help.

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