Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Council approves 2018-19 budget without debate; revenue is based on a 25 percent cut in property tax

By Sarah Ladd
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media 

The budget approved by the Midway City Council approved Monday evening has a revenue estimate that calls for the council to lower the city’s property-tax income by 25 percent.

The budget, for the fiscal year that begins July 1, was approved without debate. Council Member Bruce Southworth, who had  raised  questions about the $17,000 budgeted for improvements at Walter Bradley Park, said after the meeting, “I got my answers; it’s all been resolved.” 

At the council’s last meeting, Southworth asked for a third workshop to discuss the budget but Mayor Grayson Vandergrift declined, saying later that Southworth’s concerns were not about money, but about personnel. Volunteer Park Manager John Holloway was on hand to answer any questions that may have arisen at Monday's meeting,

Vandergrift said after Monday’s meeting that he and Southworth had discussed the park issue. As for the lack of discussion, “I think it was just a really good budget and they liked it,” he said.

During the 21-minute meeting, Vandergrift noted that while the process did not go as smoothly this year as last, “I’m very proud of our budget.” He thanked the council members for adding investments to the budget.  “There’s no other city in Kentucky doing this right now.”

Vandegrift proposed cutting property taxes because the city is getting so much more income from occupational, or payroll, taxes from recent development. The council agreed, and will set property-tax rates after it gets the options calculated by the state based on this year’s property valuations.

Vandegrift shows sign to be officially unveiled on Veterans Day
In other business, Vandergrift announced that Midway is officially a Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame City. He showed the council a new sign commemorating the honor, which he hopes to officially unveil on Veterans Day. He asked the council for suggestions on where to place it. To be a Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame City, a city must have a designated Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame Day.

In the midst of the city’s examination of an ordinance to crack down on blighted properties, Vandergrift suggested the council  also examine vague language in a county ordinance that deals with storage of recreational vehicles.

 “We’re starting to see a lot of RVs pop up around town,” the mayor said, adding that a county ordinance says RVs are to be stored in the owner’s side or back yard “where possible.” and “I don’t know what ‘where possible’ means.” He suggested City Attorney Phil Moloney begin working on clearer language to bring before the council when it works on the blighted-property ordinance.

“I don’t want to impose upon anyone,” the mayor said. “Anyone who wants to own an RV can own and RV. But, I think there’s a problem if we don’t start to regulate it.”

Council Member Steve Simoff noted a traffic backup from a tractor-trailer delivering to Main Street restaurants, and said the city also needs to do something to keep store owners and employees from using street parking that could be used by customers. “We’re losing business,” he said.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. June 18 at City Hall. All council meetings are open to the public.

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