Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Council OKs new police contract, hears plans for events; annual Chocolate Stroll scheduled this Saturday

By Lizzy Allen
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

The Midway City Council approved a contract Monday with the City of Versailles for five years of police protection at a much higher cost.

Midway will pay Versailles, which patrols all of Woodford County, 4.25 percent of its annual police budget. The current budget is $3.9 million, which would make the first year's payment $165,975.

That would be 66 percent more than the current annual cost of $100,000, but Midway officials have long expected a big increase. The county has already agreed to pay Versailles more -- $1.4 million, or 38 percent of the city's police budget.

Each citizen will end up paying about $100 per year for this service, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said, adding, “That sounds like a fair deal to me.”

Vandegrift said that the Versailles Police Department “serves us very well. They are very responsive to our needs.” He added that Assistant Chief Mike Murray, the department’s point man for Midway, “does an outstanding job.”

Council member Sarah Hicks also said that she has been impressed with the Versailles police.

“In my previous terms on the city council, I did not have as good of an experience as I have been having the last year and a half, and I’m really, really appreciative,” Hicks said.

Vandegrift said a few minor changes were made to the contract from the one approved by a council committee, plus one material change, to let him to “select a representative to participate in meetings with the mayor of Versailles and chief of police of the Versailles Police Department beginning in March each year as the budget recommendation is drafted.”

“That will basically give us a voice in the budget process each March,” Vandegrift said. “Not a vote, but a voice.” For the contract and the rest of the council's meeting packet, click here.

Merchants plan monthly activities: Peggy Angel, who was re-elected as president of the Midway Business Association last month, told the council that the merchants are planning events almost every month this year.

“We have been really actively reflecting back on 2017 to see how we could do more things in 2018 to help bring visitors into the city,” Angel said. “I understand that the city would like us to do an event every month. We are going to try our very best to do that.”

The first event is this Saturday, Feb. 10: the annual Chocolate Stroll, in which visitors and citizens visit businesses on historic Main Street to get their tickets stamped so they can be entered into a raffle, all while enjoying chocolate treats from each business.

“Basically, the idea is to get them into our businesses to see what’s here,” Angel said. “They may not buy, but at least we’re educating them.”

Other events this year include a new St. Patrick’s Day event on Saturday, March 17, for which restaurants will donate food, drinks and gift baskets; and the annual Fall Festival in September, which Angel said will feature around 20 more booths this year, some of them educational.

Angel asked the council to help the merchants keep their interstate signs, which cost $1,200 a year. Vandegrift asked her to write a formal request to be put on the agenda for the next meeting, and said the money is available.

In other business, the council renewed the contract with John Soper, chair of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority. Vandegrift said the contract reads exactly the same as last year’s. Soper is paid $5,720 a month; Midway’s share is $858.

Soper recruits employers for the county, and one of his most active areas has been Midway Station and property adjoining the industrial park, which was largely vacant until recently. “The outlook at Midway Station, honestly, looks a lot better than it ever has,” Vandegrift said. He said the city is in a position “to truly tailor Midway Station more to our liking.”

The council also approved a request by Gary Smith, who recently purchased half an acre just south of the city limits, to hook on to the city water system. Smith and his wife intend to build a home on the property.

The council also voted to accept the final version of the audit for the 2016-17 fiscal year, the preliminary version of which was discussed at a previous meeting.

Council Member Libby Warfield again missed attending due to illness. In calling for the usual moment of silent reflection at the start of the meeting, Vandegrift asked members to remember Warfield.

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