Council nixes pay raises; matter may rise again
MIDWAY - The city council Monday voted four to two against an ordinance to raise the pay of council members and the mayor by 800 and 1,000 percent, respectively - but the matter may be revisited after an as-yet unscheduled work session. Council members Sara Hicks and Steve Simoff voted yes, with council members Bruce Southworth, John McDaniel, Libby Warfield and Kaye Nita Gallagher voting no. Presently, council members are paid $50 per month and the mayor, $100 per month. The ordinance, which was sponsored by Hicks, would have increased council members' pay to $400 per month and the mayor's to $1,000 per month. The ordinance would have taken effect on Jan. 1, 2019 - after the next election. After the meeting, Simoff said he would have preferred to amend the ordinance to cut the council's pay raise to $200 monthly, but wasn't sure whether the amendment would be in order - which it would have been. The vote was preceded by a debate that took up nearly 20 minutes of a 50-minute meeting. Hicks passed out a sheet showing salary figures for mayors and councils of seven cities the size of Midway. Three of those, Clinton, Guthrie and Raceland, were higher than Midway's for the council. All of the pay for mayors in those cities was higher. Southworth said he wasn't in the job for the money, adding that he also didn't want people to run for the council merely to draw a check. Gallagher said she believed the proposed raise for council members was too high, and suggested cutting the increases for council members by half and using $100 of the monthly savings for the mayor. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift, who'd earlier cited Robert's Rules of Order, said he believed the proposal was not in order. Warfield said she believed the matter should be further studied and that if a raise was to happen, it should be preceded by official job descriptions of the mayor and council. After the vote, a work session on the issue was tentatively scheduled without a date. Police negotiations With negotiations on the 13-year-old police merger about to begin between the Versailles City Council and Woodford Fiscal Court, Vandegrift told the council he believed that Midway should be part of them. (Midway pays the city of Versailles $1,000 per month for work performed by the Versailles Police Department, while the county pays the city 38 percent of the department's operating expenses and 50 percent for capital projects. Those calculations take place after Midway's payments are accounted for.) Vandegrift said Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott told him last week that Versailles intended to renegotiate its contract with Midway - which he took to mean that Versailles would ask for an increase. "I have contacted Judge Coyle and Mayor Traugott and told them my feeling that if there's going to be a negotiation, all three entities should have seats at the table at the same time," Vandegrift said. "How can Woodford County and Versailles work out a deal that they're agreeable to and come back to us? I mean, what's the possibility of them already having a deal worked out and we're stuck with whatever they bring us? That's just not fair." Property taxes The council heard first readings of ordinances for real and personal property taxes, the latter of which would be cut. The real property tax rate would remain at 10.2 cents per $100 of assessed value, while the personal property tax rate would drop from 14 cents to 12.43 cents of assessed value. Encroachment permit The council unanimously approved an encroachment permit for Equine Analysis Systems to accommodate veterinarian Deborah Boehler, who must use hiking poles or a walker to get around. Her business is on 107 West Main Street, but the encroachment permit, which would result in the loss of at least one city parking space, is on Winter Street.