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Midway works to resolve long-standing water dispute
midway sign
The new Midway city hall is to be built at the corner of Highway 84 and Charlie Butler Road. - photo by File photo

Midway is awaiting its city attorney’s approval of a work order that may settle a years-long dispute between the city and the Liberty County Development Authority over water and sewer service.

Midway Mayor Levern Clancy Jr. said Monday that when attorney Reginald Martin signs the work order document the city seal will be then be affixed and the contractor can begin the project to replace a flow meter. The meter is the latest element in the disagreement that has gone on for years. Clancy said he had been in Midway city government for 12 years and that the city had been in dispute with the authority since before his time.  

The development authority has a water system serving its industrial park in Midway as well as water and wastewater service at its Tradeport East adjoining the city limits of Midway. When one entity had a breakdown or its system needed maintenance, the other would furnish the needed water or wastewater handling until service was restored.

The backup service provision generally worked well over the years, prompted by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, which encourages or requires alternative service arrangements like the one between the LCDA and Midway.

Paying for the shared services is a different story. Varying ways of billings, including different units, assessments of penalties and different frequency of billings have been used at different times, stretching back into the mayoral administration of the Rev. J.C. Shipman which ended in 2005.

His successor, Mayor Don Emmons, met with the development authority and its officials frequently seeking a resolution. Some good faith payments were made between the two agencies but no general solution had been found when Midway Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington took office in 2009.

Figures presented in 2009 showed that for its sewer usage, late fees, and impact fees from 2006 to 2011 the development authority owed Midway more than $2.5 million.

At the same time, Midway owed $52,857 to the LCDA including more than $30,333 for an altitude valve, the piece of equipment that permits sharing between the two systems. These figures were negotiated down—Midway agreed not to charge impact fees and no more million-dollar amounts have been cited.

Progress on Midway’s new city hall complex was reported as steady; Clancy said framing for the building was under way and the rafters for the city hall had just been delivered and would be in place soon.

Councilman T. Gerald Lee, Midway Day chairman, said that the 2018 festival was considered the best ever and that this year’s April 29 event would be even better. He said that vendors would be selling merchandise and that all activities for children and adults would be free.

The council briefly considered raising the per diem they receive for meals when they travel on official business. The current rate is $28 for a day’s meals and the members did not act to change it.

Nirav Gandhi of the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission presented applications for occupational licenses and sign permits. The council approved:

·         A license for Compass Insurance Group,

·         A license for R J Lawn Care, a home-based business, and

·         A temporary sign for the Burger King under construction at the intersection of I-95 and Highway 84.

 A sign permit for O’Reilly Auto Parts was tabled after council was told the sign was already erected and no business license had been requested.

The council voted to allow Midway police officers to wear their uniforms when working private security assignments.

 

Parker can be contacted by email at joeparkerjr@hotmail.com

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