Monday, June 19, 2017

Council OKs cemetery rules, house demolition bid, purchase of lower speed humps for Stephens Street

The Midway City Council enacted new cemetery regulations and authorized the mayor to buy lower speed humps for East Stephens Street at its meeting Monday evening. It also put some surplus equipment up for sale and awarded a bid to remove the old house in the cemetery.

The cemetery regulations are the first update in 18 years, said Council Member Libby Warfield, chair of the City Property and Cemetery Committee. She said nothing in the new rules (at the end of the council meeting packet, here) conflicts with the cemetery brochure distributed by City Hall, but they impose some new requirements in addition to the cemetery ordinance.

For example, memorials made of concrete, artificial stone, wood, composition, cast plaster, tin or iron are prohibited. Warfield said many graves in the cemetery don't comply with the ordinance, which requires "a suitable memorial identifying each set of remains in a particular lot." Warfield said, "So many of the things that are not in compliance are from what people are leaving there as a marker."

Warfield agreed with a suggestion by Council Member Sara Hicks that the city look for a way to help people who can't afford suitable memorials. Hicks suggested raising the cost of a lot by $50, to $700, and putting the extra money in an assistance fund. Warfield said the ordinance already allows the city to create such a fund, but raising the lot price would require a new ordinance.

The new rules set time periods for artificial decorations, rules for display of flags, and circumstances for the city to remove shrubs. They ban concrete urns, pots and planters; trellises, standards, brackets and shepherd's hooks; new plantings of trees or shrubs; bark mulch, lava rock, stones, glass pebbles and similar products; edging, curbing or fencing; benches, unless used in place of a headstone; toys, shells, balloons, decorative stones, wooden items, statuary, mirrors or other glass items, eternal flames, solar lights, photographs, paper articles, lawn stakes, tree ornaments, wind chimes, sun catchers, birdhouses, feeders and several other items. Warfield said newly prohibited man-made items in the cemetery will be removed.

In other cemetery business, the council accepted a $7,200 bid by Grubbs Excavating of Versailles to remove the old house in the cemetery and restore the site to a mowable condition. Vandegrift said the work will be done after June 28, because the Versailles Police Department will be using the house in a special-weapons-and-tactics exercise that day. He said windows will be broken.

The mayor gave the council a copy of this ad for the replacement
speed humps he wants to buy. Click on it to view a larger version.
The council spent much more time discussing the removable speed humps that were installed in early May on East Stephens Street, upsetting some residents. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said the 3-inch-high humps need to be replaced by 2-inchers, mainly because of concerns by emergency medical services and The Homeplace at Midway. He said the 3-inchers could be used on streets with lower speed limits.

Several council members wanted Vandegrift to check with EMS, traffic engineers and others before making the purchase. "These questions you're asking now weren't asked the first time," he said. "You all want to be 100 percent certain that these are going to work. I can't give you that." But he said "I'm going to do a lot of homework" before buying the replacements.

The council declared as surplus property, to be sold by sealed bid, to vehicles and several pieces of equipment: A 1990 Ford Ranger pickup, a 1994 Jeep Cherokee 4x4, a set of 6-foot side toolboxes, a 5x10-foot trailer;, a 50-gallon sprayer on a trailer, a Honda push mower, two Stihl blowers, an Echo hedge trimmer, two Shindaiwa weed eaters, a Meyer salt spreader, a SnowEx salt spreader, and an unspecified number of DeWalt and Skil battery-powered tools.

The council agreed to cancel its meeting scheduled for July 3 because the "Sparks in the Park" event will be held that evening, starting at 6. He said the proposed ordinance with a big pay increase for the mayor and council elected in November 2018 will probably be ready for first reading at the July 17 meeting.

Hicks informed the council that Woodford Forward and Kentucky Utilities will have a meeting Friday at 10 a.m. in the parking lot behind City Hall to discuss installation of a charging station for electric cars. "It's exciting," she said.

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