Wednesday, September 20, 2017

On 5-1 vote, council OKs big pay raises to start after next election; approves Child Care Task Force

By Destiny Butler
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

After months of discussion, the Midway City Council voted Monday to increase the pay of council members and the mayor elected next year. It also approved an effort to place a child-care center in Midway.

Effective January 1, 2019, the mayor’s pay will increase from $100 to $1,400 per month while council members’ pay will increase from $50 to $200 per month.

Libby Warfield (file photo)
The ordinance passed 5-1, with Libby Warfield opposing it.

Warfield said after the meeting that the raise is drastic. Comparing Midway to similar towns, she found that Midway officials make much less than their counterparts, but those elected next year will make more than average.

Council members in favor of the raises say Midway is growing and so will the responsibilities of the mayor and council, and the salaries have not been raised for 30 years.

Having discussed the issue several times, the council members had no discussion of it Monday, other than Kaye Nita Gallagher, who said, “I think we’ve already had a discussion.”

Child-care task force: The council approved Mayor Grayson Vandegrift’s proposal to create a task force to study the viability of a privately funded child-care center in Midway and try to attract one to the area. It would serve anyone who lives or works in the area, Vandegrift said.

“There’s been a baby explosion” in Midway, he said, “and with that there have been a lot of comments about how nice it would be to have child care, like there used to be.”

The council approved Vandegrift’s appointees: Amy Bowman, Brittany Ehrlich Jaimie Hogan, Mary Beth Rouse and Katie Vandegrift, the mayor’s wife, who will chair the task force. She and the mayor have an infant son.

The mayor said the Child Care Council of Kentucky will assist the task force: “They were very encouraging and very excited.”

Schools Hall of Fame: The council voted unanimously to keep giving the Woodford County Public Schools Hall of Fame $1,000 a year, after a presentation by Ken Tippett of the organization.

The Hall of Fame recognizes the most accomplished alumni and patrons, and the sixth class of hall-of-famers was inducted Aug. 27, Tippett said. “When we got into looking at this we found that there were a lot of schools that had hall of fame, but they were primarily athletic,” he said. “We wanted to be able to recognize every graduate in every area.”

In response to questions from the council, Tippett said annual expenses for the program are about $6,000. He said the City of Midway is one of the top sponsors, and has been since the inception of the organization six years ago.

Festival: The annual Midway Fall Festival Sept. 17 and 18 had the biggest turnout in its history, Vandegrift told the council. He said the crowd was estimated at 11,000 on Saturday and 6,000 on Sunday.

“The festival was really well-run,” he said. “Elisha Ann Holt, in her first year as coordinator, did a fantastic job; it was promoted well, a great showcase for the city, and I’m so impressed with the clean-up crew.”

The students at Spark Versailles were one of the groups of students helping pick up trash around the area. The city gave them $1,000 for their projects.

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