• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

Council puts hold on sale of old sewer plant, New lease deal with Mims expected

The Midway City Council defeated a motion Monday to sell the city’s old sewer plant to the former Kentucky State University (KSU) professor who’s been running an aquaculture operation there since 2014. Council Member Logan Nance’s motion to sell the property on East Leestown Road to Steve Mims was defeated 4 to 2, with Council Member Stacy Thurman also voting yes. Mims has been using the tanks there to raise bass, paddlefish and other fish and is presently on a month-to-month lease. At the council’s last meeting, members considered Mims’ offer of $13,001 and a $20,000 bid by Buchanan Contracting. Mims brought letters of support from state Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and County Extension Agent Adam Probst, and spoke of hiring students and tours he’d given of his operation. After an executive session to consider the matter, the council voted to table the motion until Monday’s meeting. Monday, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said he believed Mims was making the best use of the property, but said another electric meter is needed, as Mims is presently using city electricity. At the previous meeting, Mims addressed another concern – his use of effluent city water, which requires him to have access to the new sewer plant across the street. Mims said he would use creek water instead. In 2014, the city and KSU split the $20,000 cost of a new liner for a large tank there, and Mims later told the Sun that grant money paid for the aerator and other equipment used to care for the fish. City Attorney Phil Moloney will draw up a new lease for Mims. Under the present agreement, Mims pays the city $50 per month. Midway Station The council unanimously passed an ordinance rezoning the remaining 11.456 acres of P-1 (professional office) and 20.57 acres R-3 (medium density residential) areas in Midway Station to B-5 (highway interchange service) and I-1 (light industrial). In response to a question from Thurman about why the industrial park was not keeping any land zoned P-1, Woodford Economic Development Authority Chair John Soper said there wasn’t a demand for it. Metronet Two officials from Metronet briefed the council on their plans to bring fiber optic internet, television and phone service to the area. Kathy Scheller said her company and the city are working on a franchise agreement for Midway, as was recently passed in Versailles. She said Metronet’s deal with the Woodford County Schools District will have high-speed internet in public schools by the end of July. In response to a question from Council Member Bruce Southworth, Scheller said 60 percent of Metronet customers purchase only internet service. Graviss update State Rep. Joe Graviss continued his tour of government bodies with a legislative update to the council. He encouraged Vandegrift and the council to work with other elected leaders to form a “Complete Count Committee” recommended by the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure all county residents are counted. Not doing so, he said, could lead to Woodford County being underrepresented when the next legislative redistricting begins in 2021. Graviss also discussed his plans to run for the state Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Julian Carroll in 2020. Vandegrift asked Graviss to work on a plan to reform the way state fuel taxes are split between cities and counties. The present system, according to Vandegrift, is antiquated and unfair to cities. After mutual praise between Vandegrift and Graviss, Al Cross, the head of UK’s Rural Journalism and Community Issues program and a longtime political reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal, asked whether they’d be endorsing each other. Neither replied. Vandegrift is considering a run for Graviss’s seat in 2020. Midway Christian Church anniversary The council unanimously approved an event permit and street closure of Church Street for Midway Christian Church’s 175th anniversary celebration July 7. Pastor Heather McColl said the closure was needed because the church had limited flat space on its property for food trucks and entertainment.

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