New council begins work in the new year
MIDWAY - The city council began 2017 Tuesday by swearing in the council members, two of whom, Steve Simoff and John McDaniel, are new members. The swearing-in, complete with promise not to have taken part in a duel, was conducted by state Rep. James Kay, who not only represents Midway but is also married to a Midway native. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift then delivered the annual report required by state law, saying that the city began this year in even better shape than last year. There are more jobs on the way, with American Howa Kentucky adding 88 workers and Lakeshore Learning 262, with 140 additional seasonal hires, Vandegrift said. Walter Bradley Jr. Park had been revitalized, thanks to the volunteers who spruced it up and built a foot bridge over Lee's Branch, he said. The city's "worst road" (Northside Drive) was repaved in 2016, but more work needed to be done on other streets, he added. Vandegrift said while the city had to pledge $450,000 of future tax earnings from Midway Station to pay for bringing a gas line there - a necessary condition to finish the deal with Lakeshore Learning - a deal with the Woodford Economic Development Authority (EDA) to set aside money from land sales would reimburse the city for the expense. Vandegrift's short address segued into the other big agenda item of the evening: a proposal to pay John Soper, who also serves as unpaid EDA chair, to provide economic development services to the two cities and county. He noted that the first offer, prepared by Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott, would have seen the city of Midway pay Soper $27,000 annually. The revised deal, which was accepted unanimously by the council, has the city paying him $10,296. The deal allows any of the parties to opt out with 30 days' notice, as opposed to the 90 days first proposed, Vandegrift said. Zoning amendment The council unanimously passed a motion amending the current county-wide prohibition on signs and banners attached to fences and poles to allow charitable organizations to use them. Committee assignments Vandegrift announced committee assignments for the next two years, and the formation of a new committee (Cemetery, City Property and Blighted Property) made of up those three former committees. . Public Works and Service: Chair, Bruce Southworth; Kaye Nita Gallagher; and John McDaniel. . Finance, Ordinance and Policy: Chair, Sara Hicks; Bruce Southworth; and Steve Simoff. . Cemetery, City Property and Blighted Property: Chair, Libby Warfield; Sara Hicks; and Steve Simoff. . Events, Outreach and Tourism: Chair, Kaye Nita Gallagher; John McDaniel; and Steve Simoff. Mayor Pro-Tem As the 32-minute meeting was wrapping up, Gallagher asked Vandegrift when he'd be announcing a vice-mayor, or mayor pro-tem. Vandegrift said he hadn't thought to add it to the evening's agenda, but that as the post typically went to the council member who received the most votes, a nomination for Sara Hicks was in order. Hicks, who abstained, was confirmed 5 to 0. Afterwards, McDaniel said every mayor pro-tem needed a gavel and presented her with one. Vandegrift said he didn't mind - as long as his was bigger. Midway Messenger 'hires' Roller Midway Messenger Editor Al Cross announced that he'd brought former council member Dan Roller in to cover the council at least some of the time. Roller took his place at the table, behind the Midway Messenger sign - just three seats from where he sat last month. Most of the Midway City Council meetings are covered by Cross's UK journalism students, or Cross himself.