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Midway looks at tickets for revenue
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Midway’s one-man police department might be stretched a little thin if the city council carries out a plan to extend its traffic enforcement jurisdiction in all four directions, to include seven miles of I-95.
Police Chief Jerry Ramos said Midway can “annex” state highways without bringing property, population or businesses into the city. The measure only allows the city police to enforce traffic laws on the designated roads.
Citations will summon offenders to Midway’s city court.
Fines will be paid to Midway’s city treasury.
City officials were particularly interested in the fines.
“The whole fine comes to us,” said Councilman Jim Woods, “the whole fine.”
Besides the seven miles of I-95, the proposal will include 2.5 miles of Highway 84 west from Baconton Road to Bill Carter Road, Islands Highway 1.7 miles east from the city limits to Brigdon Road, 1.7 miles north from the present city limits on Highway 17 and 3.3 miles south on Highway 17 to the city limits of Riceboro.
Mayor Pro Tempore Clemontine Washington asked if the expanded territory would not reduce police coverage within Midway, but Ramos said, “It will all be in our patrol area.”
Midway is eagerly awaiting state approval to use radar speed detection devices. Mayor Don Emmons said he expected the okay, “hopefully any day now. If it doesn’t come very soon I will have to start making phone calls.”
Describing the need for traffic enforcement in the expanded area, Emmons said, “Let’s face it, there are some pretty high rates of speed on I-95.”

In other business
• Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission Director Sonny Timmerman reported that many useful comments were received at last week’s Highway 84 public meeting at Midway’s Civic Center that was attended by more than 200 people.
Midway is studying a new subdivision ordinance and a master plan overlay ordinance, both drafted by Timmerman.
Much of this week’s meeting dealt with Midway’s aging water meters and a proposal by Finance Director Gwen Lowe to replace them.
Lowe said some meters were up to 25 years old and many were inaccurate and/or hard to read.  She also said there was too much effort and opportunity for error in the process of manually reading the meters, recording the reading by hand and manually transferring it to the clerk for billing.
The proposed replacement system of meters would be radio-equipped and a meter reader would drive by with a handheld unit that automatically records water use. An estimated 1,800-2,000 meters could be read in a day with this system.
The Badger system is relatively expensive up front — one estimate was $146.000 — but the company will allow time payments from an interest bearing account into which water revenue would be deposited.
“With accurate meters, everyone will pay their fair share,” Emmons said.
The council granted City Clerk Gloria Cook-Osborne authority to approve rentals of the Midway Civic Center. The building is the former Liberty Elementary School and the former cafetorium is used for wedding receptions, and club and family gatherings.
Washington asked if the approval authority was in the clerk’s job description, and the mayor replied, “We don’t have enough paper to write out Gloria’s job description.
Midway also welcomed Dr. Olugbenga Awe who has opened a physician’s office in town.
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