• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff 16

Vandegrift: ‘Never been more optimistic’

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift had planned his annual state of the city address for January, but an audit report scheduled for Monday’s City Council meeting wasn’t prepared, so he delivered his short speech a month early.

“ … Now we are seeing the fruit of generations of care that has given us a better right than most to lay our claim that we are the greatest small city in the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Vandegrift said.

He said the city’s general fund is very healthy, debts are rapidly being paid down, and he planned to recommend a third consecutive property tax cut next year.

Vandegrift said payroll taxes generated by American Howa Kentucky have begun flowing into city coffers, and the city would soon begin to collect “significant” revenue from Lakeshore Learning Materials.

He also touted developments at Midway University and The Homeplace at Midway.

Downtown Midway, he said, is as vibrant as ever, with three new restaurants opening in the past year and new shops continue to relocate from Lexington.

Vandegrift said the city council’s accomplishments include activity at Midway Station, more consistent cemetery regulation, and public/private collaborations to repair city sidewalks.

Vandegrift said the city’s sewer plant has had “important tune-ups” that could extend its lifespan another decade. Next year, the city will finally pay off the old sewer plant, and Vandegrift said the council should have the plant appraised, deemed surplus property, and put up for public bid.

Future challenges include needed improvements to old water and sewer lines and finding a way to pay for a needed finishing coat on roads at Midway Station.

“At the same time, I don’t see any reason why we as a city should accept into our possession any road at Midway Station in its current condition,” Vandegrift said.

“In summary, our local economy is booming, our citizens are engaged, and our accomplishments can easily be seen.

Despite our challenges, it’s abundantly clear that our city is flourishing, and the opportunities we have are only bounded by our own imaginations. I have never been more optimistic about our city’s future than I am right now. Like the classic children’s story about a little engine that could achieve what others believed impossible, we are the little city that could, because we think we can … we think we can … we think we can,” Vandegrift said.

When he finished, council members gave him an ovation, after which Council Member John McDaniel jokingly asked if Vandegrift’s toddler son had written the last portion of the speech.

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