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Midway City Council adopts $1.6 million budget, hires judge
City government is now open for business in new Midway Mall temporary quarters
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At a recent meeting, Midway adopted a $1.6 million budget for 2012 that includes funds for two new police cars and part-time assistance for the city clerk and finance officer. 
The city government is having an unusually busy year-end as it relocates to Midway Mall. Midway also recently hired Gary Sinrich as city judge, and officials are studying an employee-classification and pay plan. A county water-service expansion near Midway’s service area also may be on the horizon.
The council voted last Wednesday to offer the job to Sinrich, who is Hinesville’s municipal judge. The finalists listed by Midway Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington included Sinrich, Russell Mabrey, Craig Stafford and Claudia Bolin. An interview committee talked with each applicant. Washington, council members Curtes Roberts and Terry Doyle, city court clerk Donna Davis and citizen Dee Bargeron served on the committee.
Former Midway Judge John Harvey of Richmond Hill became Bryan County’s attorney this year and resigned the Midway post as of December.
After a closed-door session, the council approved a motion that an associate judge was also needed.
Midway City Hall opened for business Dec. 27 in its new temporary quarters in suite 2D at the Midway Mall. The space is leased for a year to allow the county to develop new facilities at the former Liberty Elementarty School campus, where city hall formerly was housed. The county is renovating the campus as a multifunction county complex to include a library, recreation area, offices, a pool and other facilities.
On Dec. 15, Midway began holding its council meetings in the courtroom of the Midway Police Department at 10490 E. Oglethorpe Highway.
The Midway Police Department building is a former city hall, and city council meetings were held in the room now used for court.
Previous budget discussions turned down funding for additional police officers. A capital expenditure fund is planned to provide more street lighting in Midway.
Washington said Midway was looking for a financial institution to handle a $270,000 loan to the city, which The Heritage Bank in Hinesville will not renew.
“If we cannot find another bank, we will have to repay this loan,” Washington said.
Midway has received the results of a study by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government proposing job descriptions and a pay schedule for the city’s employees.
 Implementing the plan could cost $39,000 in addition to increased fringe benefits, but Midway Chief Financial Officer Gwen Lowe will present a plan for phasing in the proposal, spreading the cost over several years.
Midway officials are studying documents and maps that are part of the countywide service-delivery strategy. They say they are concerned about avoiding duplication or overlap between the city water system and the water service beginning to be offered nearby by Liberty County.

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