Council discusses sidewalks, animal traps
MIDWAY - The city council spent most of a 69-minute meeting Monday discussing how to protect pets from lethal traps, but before that, they voted to send letters to property owners of five sidewalks in disrepair. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said city employees and members of the council's Streets Committee recently surveyed city sidewalks. They graded for levelness, condition of the walking surface and how much each portion was obstructed by bushes, weeds and the like. The five judged to be in the worst shape were 100 S. Winter Street, 105 S. Winter Street, 101 S. Winter Street, 117 W. Bruen Street and 106 N. Gratz Street. Vandegrift said the properties the sidewalks belong to are owned by three different people. "With the exception of the one on West Bruen . these are all highly pedestrian-rich areas, and that's why I selected them . for you all to look at and get your approval on before we send letters out," Vandegrift said. The council voted 5 to 0 to send the property owners letters informing them that their sidewalks need to be repaired - and offering a 50 percent match from the city to do so. (Council member Kaye Nita Gallagher abstained, but didn't explain her reason for doing so.) The council appropriated $27,000 for sidewalk repair for fiscal 2017 and adopted a cost-sharing ordinance. If selected property owners use one of two city-approved contractors to do the work to city specifications, they can receive up to $1,000 per property from the city to help pay for it. Vandegrift said if property owners don't comply with the order, the city could have the work done and put a lien on the property until the bill is paid. Animal traps The council spent most of the evening hearing from Sarah Gilbert and Stewart Surgener, whose cat, Bunny Kitty, was found dead Aug. 9 after being caught in a lethal trap on a neighboring property. Gilbert and Surgener asked the council to consider an ordinance that would ban such traps in city limits, but allow live traps. "Midway is such a friendly place. So many people have pets . and I really don't think those kill traps are in keeping with that spirit of community that we have in this town, in this city," Gilbert said. She said present city ordinances have many provisions for the protection of pets and wild animals which amount to a "general overriding of prevention of cruelty to animals ." With many properties not fenced and secured, the matter could also be considered a public safety issue, she said. Gilbert said the trap that killed her cat - reportedly set to catch a groundhog - was set outside a crawl space. "I feel like I'm really grateful that we stood here talking about an animal, because I feel like we could be talking about a child," Gilbert said. The matter was brought up at the Sept. 6 council meeting, after a letter and pictures of the dead cat were sent to council members. Before tabling the issue for Monday's meeting, one possible solution discussed was to have property owners notify nearby residents before they set lethal traps out. Council member Steven Craig suggested that an open line of communication between neighbors might be the best solution to the problem, and could involve keeping pets indoors for a time. Surgener said he didn't believe that would work. Council member Dan Roller said he'd investigated the matter and believed the Lexington company that set the trap out didn't use proper procedures or have a permit to do business in Midway. After a half-hour or so of discussion, Vandegrift suggested that the Finance, Ordinance and Policy Committee look further into the issue. Lakeshore Learning The council unanimously approved an encroachment permit for Lakeshore Learning Materials that will allow the company to modify an existing entrance at 547 McKinney Drive and build two more. The company plans to open a distribution center next fall at Midway Station that will employ 262 full-time workers. Park Board The council unanimously approved an ordinance setting up a city park board, which will consist of between five and seven members who'll serve staggered terms. The mayor's nominations of members must be confirmed by the council. Before the vote, Vandegrift said he and City Attorney Phil Moloney differed on whether members must be Woodford County residents. Council member Sara Hicks said she agreed with Vandegrift that the requirement was unnecessary, and an amendment to that effect was passed unanimously. Snow removal The council voted unanimously to accept a three-year, per-event snow removal contract with Wright Farm Services of Richmond after the company responded to a previous request. At the Sept. 6 meeting, council member Bruce Southworth suggested asking the company to use its own front-end loader to load city salt onto the company's salt trucks to prevent corrosion to the city's front-end loader. Vandegrift said Donna Wright responded that the company's front-end loader is very small and if there was a heavy snow, it would take too long to get the salt loaded. Vandegrift said Wright told him they mix the salt with beet juice, which makes it less corrosive to equipment and vehicles, and that the company will clean the city's front-end loader after using it. After several minutes of debate, the council accepted the compromise. Public forum Vandegrift noted that the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning Commission recently passed its Goals and Objectives plan "despite our objections," and suggested a public forum before the plan reaches the council. The forum will be held Monday, Oct. 10, at 6 p.m. in City Hall.