Mayor speaks out with a pension proclamation
MIDWAY – Mayor Grayson Vandegrift Monday issued a strongly worded proclamation naming this week “A Pension is a Promise Week” and taking aim at lawmakers considering major reforms to local and state employee pension systems.
The proclamation urged the city council to “keep that promise to the employees of the city of Midway, should the Commonwealth of Kentucky fail to do so.”
Vandegrift said city, county and state employees “are the ones who truly keep order” and educate our children while making monetary sacrifices.
He said a proposal (made by Gov. Bevin) to the legislature would require employees to pay an additional three percent toward their retirement, in effect, creating a pay cut. The proposal would “cause drastic negative effects to our teachers and other employees,” he said.
Vandegrift said state pension problems were not created by public employees, “but rather by a wide network of cronyism that has pervaded this commonwealth for far too long.”
Vandegrift closed by urging the present and future councils to agree in future budgets to cover additional costs forced on employees, “should the legislature fail to keep its promise.”
No vote was taken on the proclamation. After reading it, Vandegrift posed for photos with five city employees. Council Member Sara Hicks applauded and said, “Yay, employees!” and thanked him for his words.
After the meeting, asked what he hoped the proclamation would accomplish, Vandegrift said, “I don’t know that it’ll accomplish anything. More than anything, I just wanted to show our employees how much we support them and hopefully encourage the council to take those actions I recommend if (the governor’s) proposal does get passed in Frankfort. Whether or not it gains any regional attention, I’d be surprised if it did.”
Midway merchants update
Peggy Angel of the Midway Merchants Association (MMA) briefed the council about the previous Saturday’s “Midway Old-Fashioned Christmas” and the MMA’s plans for the future.
Angel said the event that serves as the city’s kickoff to the Christmas season brought 10 vendors to downtown and a chili cook-off generated $656, which will be split between the MMA and Toys for Tots.
“Our goal basically was to get people into our town to see what we had to offer, to have a fun day and also, be profitable, not only for our association but also for Toys for Tots,” Angel said.
Upcoming holiday events include “Small Business Saturday” on Nov. 25.
She showed off rack cards, 15,000 of which were purchased by the group, and said the MMA will vote next month on where to distribute them. She said brochures she’d recently seen in Georgetown impressed her, and the MMA was considering making them, too.
Hicks asked that the Francisco’s Farm Arts Festival be included in the group’s lists of events, and Angel replied that when the rack cards were made, the event didn’t have a coordinator, but does now.
The meeting lasted 20 minutes. Council Member Libby Warfield was absent.