Monday, December 10, 2018

Water main broken in 100 block of East Stephens Street

A message from Mayor Grayson Vandegrift:

We have located a water main break on the 100 block of E. Stephens. City employees are on site working on the repair, but water customers living on the 100 block of E. Stephens between Winter and Gratz will be affected, and the break will likely affect customers living on S Gratz between E. Stephens and the softball field. As water service is restored, city workers will be placing boil water advisory notices on the front doors of all homes affected.

This is one example of the many types of updates we can give you through our participation in Heads Up Community. We will be sharing more information about Heads Up in the coming weeks, including for those who aren’t technologically advanced and those without internet connections, but if you are interested in learning more at this time you can visit headsupemergency.com or download the app for free on your phone. We also have hard copy information about this program at City Hall. Our goal is to be able to reach as many people as possible in the event of emergencies, for public notices, or for important city updates, connecting to you in the way that is most convenient for the user.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Model train exhibit Saturday at Thoroughbred Theater

Local train enthusiast Christy Reaves will display her “Fantasy Land” model train exhibit Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Thoroughbred Theater building on Main Street. Stores in downtown Midway will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Restaurants will have food and drink options all day and there will also be activities for kids, including trackless train rides and face painting from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, contact Steve Morgan at 859-552-1377 or morganstv01@gmail.com.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Council hears first reading of ordinances to cut sewer rates 15 percent or 25 percent; action set Dec. 17

Story and photo by Ana Neal
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift presented dual ordinances to the city council Monday evening for cutting sewer rates, saying the city needs a new baseline for the service.

Vandegrift said he prefers a 25 percent cut, which would mean the current monthly rate of $14.60 for the first 1,000 gallons of water used would be lowered to $10.95, and everything over 1,000 gallons would go from $7.30 to $5.47.

The 15 percent cut, which Council Member Bruce Southworth favors, would mean the rate would go from $14.60 to $12.41 for the first 1,000 gallons and from $7.30 to $6.21 for over 1,000 gallons.

Vandegrift said Midway was financially set back in 2002 to pay for the new sewer plant, but now that the debt is paid off, four years early, rates could be lowered. “Too often government will take money when they need it but they never give it back when they don’t,” he said.

The second reading and vote on both ordinances is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 17. Vandegrift said the council also has the option of leaving rates as they are. A new council takes office Jan.1.

Vandegrift touched on the projected cost for a sewer-improvement project with HMB Professional Engineers. This project would focus on cleaning out the old lines in town, tree root removal, and inspections. He said he thought the project would cost around $300,000, but the HMB is projecting only $107,000.

The mayor said the city has two choices, “one side with HMB as the engineer, and one is with us essentially doing it ourselves.” Vandegrift also said that Chris Stewart of HMB will attend a council meeting in a month or so to explain the project in more detail.

Assistant Chief Joe Campbell and Kentucky American's Jimmy Keaton
Fire department gift: Jimmy Keaton, government-affairs director for Kentucky American Water Co., presented a $500 check to the Midway Fire Department.

Keaton said, “Our firefighting support grant program is one way we can say thank you so very, very much to the men and women of these departments for their tireless dedication.”

The assistant chief of the fire department, Joe Campbell, accepted the check and said the money will be used for a new firefighting curriculum, including textbooks.

Iron Horse: Next year will be the 10th year of the Iron Horse Half Marathon, but it will be held about a month earlier, in conjunction with the Midway Fall Festival, under a permit the council approved. The Midway Business Association, which sponsors the festival, adopted the idea last month.

Because the race has been held on Sundays at 8 a.m., race representative Riley Marshall said, the biggest thing they hear from their runners is that they have little chance on a Sunday morning in mid-October to “drink in” what Midway has to offer.

Marshall and Zach Beavin, another representative, said parking will be available at Southern Equine Farm and Midway University. Asked how they will prevent runners from parking on the street, they offered the idea of issuing parking passes beforehand. The race will be run from 7 to 10 a.m.

Other business: Rex Cecil’s request for the council to waive the $850 fee for restoring water to properties that have been inactive for five years was approved. The council agreed that Cecil could only pay the deposit fee of $75 for his building at 123 W. Main St.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Message from the mayor gives his view of options for sewer-rate cuts; first reading of ordinances Monday

By Grayson Vandegrift
Mayor, City of Midway

It’s time to set a new baseline for our sewer rates – one that reflects our much improved financial situation.

Tomorrow night, I will present two options to the city council for cutting sewer rates – a 25 percent cut (which I prefer) and a 15 percent cut. The reason our current sewer rates are what they are is because they were raised in 2002 to cover the bonds issue for the new sewer plant. Now that we’ve paid off the debt on both the old and new plants, I believe it’s time to set a new baseline sewer rate.

Governments too often take money when they need it but never give it back when they don’t. Our upcoming sewer project to camera and clean out the old lines in town will not require us to borrow money, but future projects likely will. At that time, we may have to raise rates temporarily to pay off the loan of such a project – but it will only be for the life of the loan – then, rates will be reduced back to the baseline.

The question is, what should that new baseline be? I believe it should be 25 percent lower, bringing the rate just below the levels they were before the city had to build a second sewer plant because of failed technology in the old plant. The numbers and projections show (they are available at City Hall or here) that even with a 25 percent rate cut, there is still plenty of new money coming in because we are debt free in our sewer fund, and we’ve got plenty of money saved for rainy day funds.

The ordinance requires two readings, the first of which is scheduled for our regular council meeting on Monday, Dec. 3 at City Hall. The second readings, and vote to approve one of the ordinances, is set for Dec. 17 at City Hall. Both meetings begin at 5:30 p.m. and members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend. Thank you for taking the time to read this and on becoming more informed on the issues, that’s part of what makes this community so great.