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Midway needs to enforce laws or just change them

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POSTED: December 31, 2012 6:00 p.m.

I want to welcome the new Family Dollar store to Midway. For those who have yet to visit the store, it is very attractive and the shelves are well-stocked. Some of you are upset that the store missed its announced grand opening. It was not the company’s fault. The city failed to issue its business license in a timely manner, even though the company filed the paperwork in plenty of time.

For most of the county, the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission checks business applications and approves them, but because of micromanaging in Midway, the LCPC has to bring every license application before the city council for approval. If the LCPC could approve applications, it would need only a few days for approval. By going before the council, however, it could take up to six weeks.

In my last column, I asked what happened to the city ordinances. I brought up the fact that the ordinances are out of date and many are wrong. The ordinances have not been updated and reposted on the city’s web site. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Yet, at the last city council meeting, the mayor and several council members couldn’t determine whether they could approve a business license before an occupancy permit was issued. If the council doesn’t know the law, how can we be expected to know it? I understand that the city ordinances require the city clerk, Lynette G. Cook-Osborne to maintain all city codes. She hasn’t.

Does Mayor Clemontine Washington have something against churches? The Midway Methodist Church had two small temporary signs out front, promoting a church event. Pastor Doug Walker was made to remove them because he didn’t have a permit. It wasn’t the first time this has happened. Yet, a quick drive down Butler Avenue reveals that almost every retail store has at least one — sometimes multiple — signs and banners. I have not seen any of these stores come before the city council for approval. The city needs to either enforce the law completely or change it.

Midway’s web site is out of date. Under the master plan, the last entry was in 2007 and it really doesn’t state a plan. A plan does exist, but it is not on the website and the city is not following it. Under finance, the last entry was in May with no follow-ups regarding the city’s financial health. Is Midway under budget or, like the federal government, are we in financial trouble? The water quality report is for 2011. Is there one for 2012?

The “helpful links” direct users to Liberty County sites. What about links to Midway businesses instead? Wouldn’t it be nice to look up the sale items for IGA, Dollar General and Family Dollar? Or lunch specials at local restaurants? The site still is calling Midway the Gateway to Liberty County. Midway is a destination, not a gateway.

The city blog was established to keep the community informed about businesses, activities and news. The only entry was in May. It would be nice if this link was used to really inform the community.

A professional business license in Midway costs three times that of a retail store, and a liquor license costs 10 times more than the state license. Why?

Let’s hope that 2013 will hold a better future for the city of Midway and its residents.

Calderone is a conservative who lives in Midway and has written for trade publications in various fields.

 

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