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Midway faces legal threat, deficit

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By Robert Allen

City of Midway leaders met May 1 for their regular monthly meeting. The council members discussed the city’s developmental, financial, and legal issues — all of which persist as problems for the city.

“We’re down to our last penny,” said Charles “Chuck” Willis, toward the meeting’s conclusion. “We’ve got to be careful how we spend it.”

Midway faces a lawsuit concerning a lack of payment for work underway on their new fire station. Uncertainty surrounding the plaintiff’s capability of suing the commissioners individually, beyond their inclusion in the collective government entity, was a source of consternation. 

Willis repeatedly asked the council to organize a discussion, assessing what amount is owed and what amount might allow settlement. 

Dot Inman-Johnson, Midway’s city manager, steered the city away from such a forum. She said the station is incomplete. Accordingly, she argued the bills could not be assessed, let alone paid, until the contractor and various subcontractors conclude the job for which they were contracted. 

Inman-Johnson said, for example, that one part of the station marked for tile in the contracted plan was covered with a sheet of linoleum. She also said when the station was first opened to the public, potted plants were placed in front of incomplete bits of the interior. 

“I don’t see us paying contractors for work that is not finished,” she said. 

The city manager also said what was finished is in a “horrific condition.”

“If you don’t have a paper trail, you have to pay the man — whether you owe him or not,” said Smith. 

Delores Madison motioned to remove the city attorney, Henry Hunter, from his position. She argued he is under-experienced as a “governmental” attorney — and thus under-qualified for the city position.

“If we had a government attorney, we would not have these cases,” said Madison.

The motion failed. Madison and Councilmember Allean Robinson cast the votes in favor of Hunter’s removal. Councilmember Willis abstained from voting, citing unspecified business connections. 

Meanwhile, Councilman Charlie Smith questioned the city’s record-keeping.

Other points of discussion included the emergency planning, park management, and the annexation of new properties into the city limits, a potential move to generate increased tax revenue.