• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

Vandegrift proposes 25 percent property tax cut

Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2019 unveiled Monday at the city council meeting includes a 25 percent cut in property tax rates.

“My intention is, come about August when we set property rates … I am going to submit to you for your approval a significant cut in property taxes for our citizens. Keep in mind, we currently pay exactly twice as much as Versailles does for property taxes,” Vandegrift said.

The new fiscal year begins July 1.

Vandegrift projects that the property tax cut would result in city revenue dropping by $28,000, from $110,000 to $82,000. (The proposed rate cut of 25 percent could vary depending on the total value of assessed properties.) The property tax decrease would be more than offset by a $50,000 increase in payroll tax revenue, from $500,000 to $550,000, made possible by more jobs at Midway Station, Vandegrift said.

The property tax cut was at the top of a list of items for which Vandegrift said he would fight hardest.

“I just want to point out some things that I think are, for lack of a better term, highlights of the budget,” he said.

Among the other spending and revenue proposals by Vandegrift:

Increasing street paving spending from $32,000 to $50,000.

Doubling storm drain appropriations, from $10,000 to $20,000.

Increasing the cemetery building fund from $10,000 to $25,000 to pay for a pavilion.

Keeping spending for Walter Bradley Park improvements at $17,000.

Interest expenses for the loan on the old sewer plant dropping from $84,000 to zero, which Vandegrift said reflected that the final payment on it would be made this year.

“That in itself will not lower water and sewer bills … (but) I think it’s the first step in lowering those water and sewer rates. Hopefully, I think we can do this in the next few years, if we do it right,” Vandegrift said.

The council will hold at least two budget workshops, with the first on April 26 at 2 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.

Park problems

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Vicki Olivo, who said she lives at the foot of Gratz Street, asked the council about plans for the portion of Walter Bradley Jr. Park near her house. Olivo said the solar lights on the path leading to the park bridge are a problem.

“They hum at night - if you sit on my front porch you really can’t - and the lights are so bright that it’s like I’m living next-door to a car lot on North New Circle Road,” Olivo said.

Olivo also said there’s no underbrush left in the woods, and that owls, woodpeckers and rabbits have left the park.

She asked who controlled park spending, to which Vandegrift replied the citizen-led Parks Board. He encouraged her to attend the next board meeting, which happened to be the following day.

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