• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Midway Station TIF on 'life support'

MIDWAY - Mayor Grayson Vandegrift told city council members Monday night that developer Dennis Anderson has decided not to proceed with the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan for Midway Station. That means the city of Midway will foot the $34,133 bill for legal fees generated by the city's drafting of the TIF, which passed the city council in December 2014. (The TIF passed Woodford Fiscal Court last August.) "I want to discuss this with Phil (City Attorney Phil Moloney) - we have to look into what our options are going to be. Right now, we have a TIF on the books, so we either need to get that TIF off the books or we need to decide why we wouldn't want that TIF off our books," Vandegrift said. "It doesn't necessarily mean the TIF is dead, but it's on life support." The matter will be discussed at a future council meeting, Vandegrift said. The TIF was designed around Anderson's $126.7 million plan for business, residential and industrial development at Midway Station. Anderson would have been allowed to use property and payroll taxes generated there to reimburse him for up to $31.7 million spent on infrastructure improvements. In December, Woodford Economic Development Authority Chairman John Soper explained why Anderson cancelled a scheduled Oct. 29 meeting with the Kentucky Economic Development Financing Authority (KEDFA). State officials would have examined the tax increment financing (TIF) plan for Midway Station then. Soper said a question arose over whether Midway Station met the state's definition of "blighted," necessary for the TIF, because what needed improvements there are its utilities, not structures. Anderson was not available for comment the day after Monday's council meeting "You might say, 'Wait a minute. Didn't we put a lot of attorney fees in this?' And you'd be right," Vandegrift said. "But the advantage is that if the TIF is over, we obviously have development happening out there and we have more to come, which we're about to see tonight. Those taxes that we were going to have to withhold and pay back to the developer are now going to flow into the city. So we will lose these legal fees in the short run - we'll probably make a whole lot more in revenue in the long run." Vandegrift also said Anderson's representatives announced the developer would not redo the infrastructure at Midway Station. "We're going to keep the roads the way they are and thus keep the water and sewer lines the way they are. The water and sewer lines are fine; they run along the roads. However, they are going to have to redo the storm sewer system ." Vandegrift said. New businesses The co-owner of a landscape architecture firm hired by Anderson requested two encroachment permits involving four new businesses for the west side of Midway Station. Each was approved unanimously. The permits, if approved by the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission, would allow a total of four new entrances along Georgetown Road. One of the planned businesses is a gas station, said Tony Barrett of Barrett Partners, Inc. Reached by phone the next day, Soper said he didn't know when any of the four would begin operations. Budget passed After a second reading, the council unanimously passed the city budget for fiscal 2017. Appropriations include $547,957 for the water fund, $429,398 on general government, $240,552 for the sewer fund, $266,596 for streets, $115,262 for the fire department and $100,000 for the contract with the Versailles Police Department. Each of the city's five funding areas - general, special, cemetery, sewer and water - are projected to begin and end fiscal 2017 with the same balance. Garbage rates The council also unanimously voted to raise residential garbage and recycling pick-up rates from $12 a month to $12.91 for once-weekly pick-up and business rates from $25.50 to $27.54 for twice-weekly pick-ups. Churches can request to pay residential rates for once-weekly pick-ups. State fair support The Woodford County Volunteer Workgroup's Lillie Cox told the council the state fair, set for Aug. 18 to 28 in Louisville, presents the county with a unique opportunity: to "sponsor" the opening day at a cost of between $15,000 and $20,000. Cox said she'd met with Woodford Reserve officials and thought they might pay the entire tab, but asked council members to consider paying part of the tab. Council member Sara Hicks asked how much the city had paid to help fund Woodford County state fair exhibits in the past. City Clerk Phyllis Hudson said the city hadn't. Hicks suggested the council pledge $200 from next year's budget (which begins July 1), and the motion passed unanimously. Post office parking Hicks said the city property committee she chairs unanimously recommended that the council alter the parking signs on the northeast and southeast corners of Winter and Bruen streets. "The signs now say 10-minute parking only . and the recommendation of the property committee is that the signs state, '10-minute parking, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday' to match the hours of the post office," Hicks said. Midsummer Nights Midway Renaissance representative Jo Blease requested an event permit that will allow participating businesses to sell alcohol on three Friday nights for their Midsummer Nights in Midway program. A motion to that effect was unanimously approved. Midsummer Nights in Midway includes live music, local bourbon and brews, a "mini-farmer's market" and, thus far, 18 vendors for the June 24, July 22, and Aug. 19 festivals. "We want it to be wholesome, family fun that highlights our community. . We're going to be using a lot of social media to advertise and bring other people who are outside our community in, because hopefully, they'll say, 'Wow, what a cool place, and we want to come back,'" Blease said.

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