Council establishes Code Enforcement Board, penalties
The Midway City Council Monday unanimously approved ordinances establishing a Code Enforcement Board and penalties for violating city laws regarding blighted and abandoned properties. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said the ordinances were a long time coming, calling them a great exercise in local government, and praised former City Councilmember Libby Warfield, who died in February 2017, for her work on the issue. Ordinance 2019-14 establishes that the mayor will nominate the three board members, who are subject to confirmation by the city council. One will serve for a year, one for two years, and another for three years. Vandegrift will also select two alternates. Subsequent appointments will serve three-year terms, but not more than two consecutively. Members will be paid $25 per meeting, pick their own chairperson and meet at least quarterly. Code Enforcement officers can issue citations, which must be responded to within 10 days. If the alleged violator doesn’t show up for a hearing, the order would be considered final. Civil fines for first offenses, which would compile daily until the problem is rectified, range from $25 for animals to $100 for an unsafe and unfit structure, and the city can put a lien on properties found to be in violation and assess fees for costs, including abatement. Appeals would be filed in Woodford Circuit Court. Ordinance 2019-15 defines a variety of nuisances including weeds and grass, rubbish and dead animals. Midway Station interest Woodford Economic Development Authority (EDA) Chair John Soper briefed the council on the EDA’s ongoing loan discussions with Wesbanco and three other local banks for a three-year renewal of the loan on Midway Station. The new loan will have an interest rate of 3.25 percent, Soper said. Bonds for the initial 20-year loan, which paid for the land purchase and infrastructure for the industrial park, came due at the end of last year. Soper asked the council to guarantee on the $5,678 monthly interest payments, saying he would ask Woodford Fiscal Court for the guarantee as well. Last year, the EDA, using proceeds from a variety of land sales at Midway Station over the last few years, began paying the biannual interest payments on the debt. Councilmember Logan Nance asked about the value of the unsold land there. Soper responded that it was worth about $3.5 million, though the retail price was more than $5 million. He said industrially-zoned land was selling for $65,000 an acre, while the business professional (B-5) land was worth $200,000 an acre. The council unanimously approved Soper’s request. Budget amendment The council unanimously approved a revenue-neutral budget amendment for fiscal year 2020 reflecting changes in spending on a variety of projects. Among the alterations were an additional $34,000 to pay off a loan from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority for the 2015 Higgins Street water line project, $75,000 for a new backhoe, and the delaying of $200,000 for sewer line rehabilitation work until July 1, the start of the new fiscal year. Iron Horse The council unanimously approved an event permit for the 2020 Iron Horse Half Marathon and 12K race, which will take place Sept. 20 – the same weekend as the Midway Fall Festival – beginning at 7:15 a.m. Before the vote, Nance asked what time the race organizers would begin using the public address system, to which Zack Beavin of John’s Bluegrass Racing Company said 7:10 a.m. Nance noted there were apartments near the starting line behind Darlin’ Jeans and said, “If you woke my kids up at 7:10 on a Sunday morning, I’d be pretty upset.” Vandegrift said he didn’t recall any complaints over the noise after last year’s race and Beavin said they would keep the announcements at a minimum. Councilmember Stacy Thurman asked about the charities that would receive some of the proceeds. Beavin said the four charities last year were the Midway Ministerial Association, Cops For Kids, the Midway University cross country team, and a local Special Olympics chapter.