Council prepares for garbage rate hike
MIDWAY - In a 23-minute meeting Monday, the city council heard first reading of an ordinance that would raise garbage collection rates for the second time in little more than a year. If passed, the measure would raise rates from $12 a month to $12.91 for once-a-week pick-up for residential customers and $25.50 to $27.54 for twice-a-week pick-ups for business customers. Churches wishing to pay residential rates for once-weekly collections can do so by informing City Hall in writing. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said the hikes were necessary because of a recent rate increase by Rumpke, its Ohio-based garbage and recycling contractor. In May of 2015, the council raised residential rates by a nickel and business rates by $1.70 after a city clerk recognized a clerical error and resulting shortfall. A second reading, possible discussion and vote will be held at the council's next meeting on June 6. Budget A first reading was also held for the council's fiscal year 2017 budget, which goes into effect July 1. General fund: . Major spending items include $429,398 on general government, $100,000 on the contract with the Versailles Police Department, $115,262 for fire, $266,596 for streets, $113,200 for sanitation, $147,756 for cemetery and $37,300 for City Hall, which is the Rau Building. The city will also spend $25,262 on the new fire truck. In February of 2015, the council voted to pay $240,178 for the truck - half up front, and the rest over five years. . Other major spending items include $240,552 for the sewer fund and $547,957 for the water fund. . Each of the city's five funding areas - general, special, cemetery, sewer and water - are projected to begin and end with the same balances. Midway University Midway University President John Marsden gave the council an update on what is arguably the school's biggest reform since its formation in 1847: to begin accepting male undergraduates for day classes this fall and, in 2017, allow them to live in campus dorms and take part in school athletic programs. (See article, page 4.) Last Thursday, the school's board of trustees voted to transition to a fully co-educational institution. "In the last several decades, we have had men in our degree completion programs at the undergraduate level, in our on-line programs and at our graduate level," Marsden said. "We've had a women's college, but it has fallen to just about 25 percent of our student enrollment ." Marsden said the move will help ensure the long-term viability of the school. "These are challenging times for higher education, both in the private and public realms; you're probably hearing all about it in Frankfort. At the same time, based on data that's been reported in many media outlets and collected from the college board, only two percent of high school women indicate a preference for single-sex education," Marsden said. He noted that when the college began (in 1847 for orphaned women), access to higher education for women was limited and that men have been involved in evening programs for three decades. In response to questions from council members, Marsden said he wasn't sure which dorm men would live in or in which athletic programs they'd participate. High-tech radar Vandegrift announced the city's $3,000 portable radar/data collection sign was up and working on East Stephens Street. For now, the sign is in stealth mode in order to collect data unaffected by the tendency of drivers to slow down when they see a display showing they're speeding. Vandegrift said the sign collects a wealth of data that he hopes to share with the council at a meeting in the near future. In one week, he said, it recorded the speeds of 5,900 cars.