Midway talks cash, trash, policy

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Times Reporter 

Midway City Council members met April 3 to tackle city business — which includes looming unpaid bills resulting and the threat of a lawsuit.

The city owes one individual $17,000. They have paid $5,000.

“If the balance is $12,000, we don’t have that to hand to him,” said Dot Inman-Johnson, city manager. “We work hard but we are not magicians. Staff is working harder to keep those people at bay who we have old debts with.”

The city manager said during the regular city council meeting the city’s financial difficulties may not resolve until, “the state turns on the faucet of cash coming into the city.” 

Trash collection and disposal was another discussion point.

“People are digging and burying garbage in the ground,” said Inman-Johnson. 

Councilmember Allean Robinson said residents are also dumping trash on a particular 4-acre parcel of city-owned land. The commissioners discussed installing a cable to prohibit vehicles from reaching the dumping place. 

Councilmember Charles “Chuck” Willis initiated a conversation about mandatory garbage collection in the city. Willis said some Midway residents do not want mandatory collection. But he says the practice may help the city progress. 

The increasing fuel cost accrued by the Midway Police Department was also a topic of discussion. Inman Johnson spot-checked the department’s records.

“I found the same officer filled the same car two days in a row,” said Inman –Johnson. “Midway isn’t that big. There’s no need to be driving around in the cars.”

Henry Hunter, city attorney, did a bit of quick math and estimated the department was using 33 gallons a day. He said he based this figure on a $4 gallon.

Inman-Johnson said the officers could adopt a less mobile strategy and still do their job, suggesting officers might park and watch rather than patrol. 

Public involvement with the city government was also a general area of concern. Minimal attendance at council meetings was a specific concern.

“We can’t answer their questions if they’re not here to ask us,” said Councilmember Delores Madison. 

Willis suggested a reason for their absence: “They say we stay too long in the meetings, don’t do anything, and don’t have any services,” said Willis. “We’ve had citizens come in here and say, ‘We don’t get anything.’”

Willis also said, “We’ve already got our minds all made up how we’re going to vote on the issues.”

The council meets at 7 p.m. the first Thursday of every month. The public is encouraged to attend.