Council talks pay hike and speed bumps
MIDWAY - The city council Monday decided to wait and see on two matters of public interest: a hefty pay hike for council members and the mayor and recently installed speed bumps on Stephens Street. The proposed pay increase was brought up near the end of an 81-minute meeting by Finance, Ordinance and Policy Committee Chair Sara Hicks. Hicks's proposal was preceded by an update from Woodford Economic Development Authority (EDA) Chair John Soper about goings-on at Midway Station. Soper endorsed a pay raise for the council and mayor, saying vastly increased activity at Midway Station would require a great deal more work from council members. When Hicks asked what sort of increase he thought appropriate, Soper didn't cite a figure, saying "substantially more." Later, Hicks reintroduced the subject, saying her committee had examined a list of salaries of public officials from Kentucky cities the size of Midway that was compiled by the Kentucky League of Cities. Hicks said she believed council members should be paid $400 a month (up from $50, an 800 percent increase) and the mayor should be paid $1,000 a month (up from $100, a 1,000 percent increase). She said one city the size of Midway gave annual salaries of up to $7,433 for council members and $27,000 for its mayor. Hicks echoed Soper's words about Midway Station requiring more work from the mayor and council, and said increasing their pay would make the positions more attractive to young people with new ideas. Council Member Bruce Southworth said there hadn't been a pay hike for 30 years. Hicks said the committee-endorsed proposal wouldn't take effect until after the next election. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift suggested the council hold off on taking action and discuss the plan again at the next meeting. Speed bumps The first third of the meeting was spent discussing the speed bumps installed the previous Monday on Stephens Street, and community members on either side of the issue spoke first. Dakota Shaw of 202 South Gratz Street said drivers were taking alternate routes to avoid the bumps and were speeding more than usual on those streets. "There's a lot of kids near where I live, so it's pretty dangerous," Shaw said. Margie Stout of 210 E. Stephens Street supported the speed bumps, saying they were helping a problem she'd noticed since moving there seven months ago. "I've even seen a state cop with no lights on, no siren on, at 10 or 11 at night. If he was doing 10 (mph), he was doing 80 (mph). Sometimes I even think the school bus goes too fast," Stout said. Vandegrift apologized for not consulting Woodford County Emergency Services (EMS) Manager Freeman Bailey about how ambulances would fare on the 3-inch bumps before they were installed. Vandegrift said Bailey told him he was "very concerned" about taking patients they were "literally trying to keep stabilized" over the bumps. Vandegrift said Bailey told him the city was welcome to keep the bumps, which cost $5,300, but said additional driver training would be needed. Council members expressed general support for the portable bumps, noting they'd only been in place for one week, but suggested exploring alternatives like smaller bumps if complaints continue. Council Member Libby Warfield said she'd received a total of six calls and texts on the bumps, with three persons supporting them and three against. Signs A lengthy presentation from the head of the Midway Merchants Association resulted in the group receiving a commitment to help pay for the county's booth at the Kentucky State Fair and signs on I-64. Peggy Angel told the council the state charges $1,200 for the four Midway signs on I-64, and that her group had raised pledges of $600 toward that goal. Later, she made a pitch on behalf of the county's annual booth at the state fair. The council voted unanimously to contribute $300 for the interstate signs and $300 for the state fair booth. Angel also said the group wants to post a new directional sign on a utility pole at the railroad crossing next to Midway City Hall. Vandegrift agreed to pay up to $200 for that effort. Garbage rates The council voted unanimously to amend the city's garbage collection ordinance to allow churches and other non-profits to use the residential rate of $12.91 for once-weekly pick-up. Businesses pay $27.54 for twice-weekly pick-ups. Lakeshore Learning Bond attorney Mark Franklin of Stoll & Keenon updated the council on plans by Lakeshore Learning Materials to purchase additional property at Midway Station. Under an incentive plan approved by the city, the company will give the title for improvements to the city in return for property tax abatement. Franklin said the company hopes to close on a portion of the Homer Freeny Jr. property there next month and wished to add it into the current agreement. He said Vandegrift already had the authority to accept the deed and sign the revised agreement.