Midway city council drew closer Monday to finally settling the years-long dispute between the city and the Liberty County Development Authority over the water and wastewater services they share. The council voted unanimously to authorize Mayor Levern Clancy Jr. to sign the final agreement ending the dispute.
Anthony Abbott, a Savannah attorney specializing in water cases, pointed out that with the signature authorized it was now up to the mayor to actually sign the document, and up to city officials to attest and deliver it. Abbott said he had hoped a check from the LCDA, owed to Midway as part of the dispute, could have been presented at the meeting but it was not. It seemed possible that officials may plan to simultaneously exchange the signed document from Midway for the check from the authority. The check is believed to be for about $20,000.
Architect Judson Bryant brought the council a sobering report on the construction of Midway’s new city hall. He said the project had “brought wonderfully challenging times” to those working on it, “It has made our lives very interesting.”
Bryant said the site, on Charlie Butler Road near Highway 84, was not the worst possible place to build, but was probably a very close second. Wetlands and poor subsoils were major
Bryant said the architectural work on the project was 100 percent complete and that it had included cost cutting measures sometimes called value engineering. Bryant said he had cut about $500,000 by changing to less expensive materials where it made no difference and reducing cosmetic measures.
But more cuts are needed, and Bryant said those reductions needed to be made by Midway’s government. “We’re now down to substantive cutting,” he said, “and those cuts are policy.” As one example Bryant cited a cupola designed for the top of the city hall building. It serves no functional purpose, he said, but was designed to contribute to the appeal of Midway and its city hall. The cupola costs $27,000, Bryant said, and the decision to keep it or eliminate it lies with the city.
Bryant said he would be planning to meet individually with city officials, evading the requirement for meetings. If all goes well the project could be completed within eight or nine months.
Midway Police Chief Kelli Morningstar brought a concern to the council’s attention: difficulties providing public defender services to people charged with offenses in Midway’s city court.
If the contracted public defender does not show up for a session of municipal court, Morningstar explained, all the cases he would be handling must be postponed until the next court date.
Confusion is also caused among suspects who want to know if they qualify for the services of the public defender. Expenses and delays are also caused among witnesses, including those who are subpoenaed.
Councilmembers appeared to take the report seriously but had no immediate plans for a solution.
Clancy said he had been unable to arrange a meeting with two property owners to plan repairs for the severe potholes on private property and city property along Butler Street.
Plans are under way for 2018 Midway Day, which is set for April 21 at the newly reopened Cay Creek Interpretive Center on Charlie Butler Road.
Parker can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.