During closing comments at Tuesday night’s Paducah City Commission meeting, Commissioner Carol Gault referenced Monday’s 911 meeting that discussed payment options to improve the outdated emergency radio system.
Mayor George Bray declined a suggestion that entailed McCracken County recouping tax revenue losses through annexed properties in tandem with user fee options, which involved updated utility fees.
“Annexation was never a part of 911, and never discussed as part of 911,” Bray said, referencing lengthy city-county discourse earlier this year on signing an interlocal agreement. “My assumption is we’re moving forward in full partnership, and annexation is not part of that.”
Commissioner Sandra Wilson, also mayor pro tem, agreed, adding the importance of “not getting delayed by new topics.”
Discussions are ongoing, but City Manager Daron Jordan said a goal is publishing a request for proposals by Monday, Nov. 28.
The meeting — rescheduled due to Election Day last week — touched on several topics.
Commissioners passed an emergency ordinance to increase the payment not to exceed $80,000 for recent partial demo work on the Katterjohn building on Broadway.
The commission agenda attributed the change order to proper hazardous waste disposal.
Bray and Jordan said no additional demo work is ongoing after the city removed an unsafe portion last month.
“It’s not any additional efforts or work done from what’s previously approved,” Jordan said. “Anticipation of the cost estimate was $60,000; however, expenses have incurred on the initial estimate. We couldn’t wait until we had all the invoices in to (vote).”
Jordan gave an overview of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The city received some $6.55 million, with $4 million committed to stormwater progress and a not-to-exceed amount of $1.8 million for Robert Cherry Civic Center work.
Some $300,000 remains after smaller efforts like reimbursing ViWinTech up to $172,000 under job-creation stipulations after the company bought the former Residential Care Center on Irvin Cobb Drive to build a new facility.
Under ARPA guidelines, the city must obligate all funds by the end of 2024.
City Engineer Rick Murphy updated members on current stormwater-management progress — part of an ongoing master plan since 2016 to better mitigate flooding.
“Any time you see a ditch, it’s inefficient drainage,” Murphy said, showing a before-and-after photo of Brooks Stadium Drive to scattered murmurs of “looks good.”
“You put in curbs and gutters, you fix the drainage problems, so that’s what we’ve tried to do.”
Members first-read an ordinance amendment on transient room taxes, spurred by state legislation on House Bill 8 that raises accountability for online travel companies like Airbnb.
“(These companies) have local hosts in the city, (but) don’t share local hosts with the city,” said City Clerk Lindsay Parish. “The state recognized the issue.” She said the city ordinance mimicked the state’s at a local level, extending the room tax to campsites, lodgings and online booking companies.
“We have a lot of AirBnB’s in our community, so this will be a good thing in the long-run,” Bray said.
The city introduced an ordinance to amend Parks & Recreation Department code for conduct rules regarding recreational areas.
Director Amie Clark called it “a basic update to the language,” ensuring consistency: “The Lanelle Park was removed last year and is no longer a park, so we updated that.”
Jeff Canter, board chairman of the Main Street program, gave an update with City Planner Nic Hutchison to seek 2023 accreditation with Main Street America.
“We’re excited to have a full board of nine downtown stakeholders,” Canter said, mentioning some numbers — 13 new businesses, over 40 new jobs and more than $2 million privately invested. “We would not exist without the support of our local community, so on behalf of all small business owners, thank you.”
On housing incentives, Bray called it something “to sink our teeth into.”
Wilson called it a statewide problem, remarking how the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and League of Cities have similar 2023 priorities.
“I don’t think we’re moving quite fast enough,” she said, along with commissioner Raynarldo Henderson, mentioning a past meeting with McNabb Elementary School representatives on how torn-down homes impacted students.
On Southside neighborhood progress, Henderson said, “We’ve made some progress, and people are noticing, and while they know things won’t happen overnight, they’re also appreciative that we’re doing something. Coleman Park really looks good — the things I’m seeing from afar.”
- The city successfully launched online property tax payments.
- A city service request app has received over 900 requests. About 700 are for brush pickup.
- In closing remarks, Bray said the BBQ On the River fundraised $447,000 — similar to prior years.
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