Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Council clears up property issue, sets up new garbage rates for passage, hears a member say he's not running

Story and photos by Sarah Ladd
By University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

The Midway City Council cleared up a property issue and gave first reading of new garbage rates at its meeting Monday evening. It also heard an update on emergency preparedness and heard a member announce that he won’t be seeking re-election this fall.

The abandoned part of Winter Street next to the Corner Grocery
Property issue: The council declared that the city has no interest in a piece of property called “no man’s land” next to the Midway Corner Grocery, and gave grocer Scott Bradley a quitclaim deed for it and another parcel originally thought to be his. 

Versailles lawyer Phyllis Mattingly spoke to the council on Bradley’s behalf. She said the original deed for the grocer’s property, purchased by Bradley’s parents and grandmother in 1980, was surveyed incorrectly, an error discovered during a recent survey.

The land that Bradley has used for his business and paid taxes on includes two plots that belong to him, a parcel belonging to the city and an old part of North Winter Street, abandoned when the street was re-routed decades ago.

Plat shown to the council outlines the grocery tract in purple, another
tract of Scott Bradley's in orange, the abandoned street in green, and
the property to be covered by the city's quitclaim deed in hashed blue.
For a larger version of the image, click on it.
“When the state abandoned the road, by law that property would typically go back to the property owner,” Mattingly said. “Of course, we don’t quite know who the property owner is for all this.”

The other parcel is a strip between the grocery and North Winter Street that encompasses the fuel pumps in front of the store, which Mattingly said has been used by the grocery for many years.

Mattingly asked the council to declare that the city has no interest in the property and to authorize a quitclaim agreement conveying it to Bradley.

Council Member Bruce Southworth said, “I don’t think we’ve ever had any interest in the property.” The council voted unanimously to enter the agreement.

Garbage rates: The council heard the first reading of an ordinance to raise garbage collection prices to accommodate the council’s July 27 adoption of a new contract with Rumpke Waste & Recycling. The new rates will be:

             Residential customers: one pickup per week at $14.95 per month, a 15.4 percent increase from the current $12.95
             Business customers: two pickups per week at $35 per month, a 29.6 percent increase from the current $27
             Churches: charged as businesses unless the church requests in writing to be charged and served as a residential customer

The new rates will go into effect Sept. 1. The ordinance requires a second reading before the council can vote on passage. The next council meeting is scheduled for August 20 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Steve Simoff
Council election: Council Member Steve Simoff, who has served on the council since January 2017, announced that he will not be running for re-election “for personal and professional reasons.” He said he wanted to bring it up publicly to allow people considering running to know there will be an extra seat available.

Though Simoff said he was not ready to expound on his reasons for not running, he said, “I’ve really enjoyed this. Maybe two years from now, four years from now, I’d like to do it again. … It’s been fun.”

The deadline to file for the six council seats is 4 p.m. Tuesday, August 14. Those who had filed as of 3 p.m. Tuesday are John Holloway, the city’s unpaid park manager, on Feb. 19; Stacy Thurman, on June 14; Logan Nance, on June 28; and Council Member Sara Hicks, on Aug. 2.

Storm cleanup: The council also heard from Drew Chandler, head of Woodford County Disaster and Emergency Management, regarding the cleanup and restoration of the city following the recent storm.

Chandler said the July 20 storm and its aftermath revealed flaws in the department’s communication. Many people could not receive notifications because their phones relied on electricity.

He said the department is trying to become more “tech-savvy” and he introduced a new app, Heads Up Community, which is available in the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. Citizens can sign up for selective notifications that meet their needs such as school closings, police and security and traffic alerts.

Chandler said the app is accessible on tablets and smartphones and “breaks down that barrier that we’ve always had. People don’t want to sign up for another government list.”
He also said the department is branching out to Instagram and other social media platforms beside Facebook. He said the app is the “first step in our corrective action,” and he hopes to keep expanding.

Fall Festival: The council approved the event permit for the Midway Fall Festival, which will be held Sept. 15-16. Elisha Ann Holt of the Midway Business Association told the council she has arranged for 214 vendors for the festival, a record number. Last year’s had 160 vendors.

The festival will not feature the bouncy house for children but will have other children’s activities like face painting and children’s vendors, Holt said. She said her goal with the festival is to continue to grow the city as a whole and she said this year’s event will feature a wider variety of music, which she hopes will draw a bigger audience. 

Lexington School bonds: The council voted unanimously to issue $5 million in tax-free revenue bonds for The Lexington School, to help it reduce the cost of a construction project.

Christian Juckett, a lawyer at the Lexington office of the Rubin & Hays law firm, returned to follow up on his July 18 request for the bonds towards a new learning center at the school. The school uses Midway as a financing tool because state law allows such bonds to be issued only by local governments that issue less than $10 million in bonds in that year, and Lexington issues more than that, Juckett said. He also reiterated that the city of Midway would in no way be responsible for the debt issued but would merely serve as a catalyst.

Donations: The council agreed to a request from Lillie Cox for $125 to help finance Woodford County’s display in the Pride of the Counties exhibit at the state fair. The city now has $975 remaining in its donations budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year, which began July 1.

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