The city of Paducah could vote in two weeks on interlocal agreements with McCracken County regarding the 911 system and Greenway Sports complex, Mayor George Bray said Tuesday.
“City Manager Daron Jordan and Deputy Judge-Executive Steve Doolittle met this week and are very close to finalizing all the items there,” Bray said during a city commission meeting. The final version would be the eighth draft.
Traditionally the city has held two readings for interlocal agreements but can pass with one. A median option is calling a special meeting after the first vote.
In a general update, Jordan said design documents for Robert Cherry Civic Center renovations are 95% complete. The city also aims to have its new pickleball courts ready by spring 2023.
Commissioners authorized a $98,928 payment to the Paducah-McCracken County Industrial Development Authority to purchase property at 6866 Bobo Road for economic development. The amount is 23%: On Monday, the county fiscal court voted to transfer $331,000 — the other 77%.
The land, more than 18 acres, sits near the Triple Rail Site — roughly 400 acres near West Paducah to court new industry. In 2020, Greater Paducah Economic Development finalized an ILA with the IDA, city and county to serve as IDA manager and marketer of IDA-owned property.
“It’s important to have land available for when companies come in,” Bray said, mentioning a clause to apply for funds through the Paducah Community Area Reuse Organization, a single point of impact created to offset the economic impact of the closing Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
“We believe this is a valid use of those funds,” Bray said. “Ultimately, it’ll be the PACRO board that makes that decision.”
Commissioners approved a $215,000 service contract with Paducah Transit Authority for the fiscal year 2023. Executive Director Arthur Boykin spoke about recent driver shortages.
“If a client in Wickliffe needs a ride, we have to utilize our assets,” Boykin told commissioners. “Once the vehicle shows up, even if the person (cancels), we’ve still allocated two hours of that vehicle time.”
The Paducah Area Transit Service covers McCracken, Ballard and parts of Graves County. With 13 current demand-and-response drivers, it averages more than 200 rides daily — sometimes going as far as Aurora.
PATS is compensated for walk-ons by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet through an Owensboro broker; it receives no compensation if riders unexpectedly cancel.
“In the past, we’d tell clients, ‘If you want a ride on Wednesday, call on Tuesday,’ ” Boykin said. “But because of our shortage and the impact, we tell clients to call us a week in advance (now).
“We’re a shared-ride system that tries to schedule the maximum number of clients. Some of our stipulations — some may call them rigid, but you have to do a pre-employment drug screen, background check, no felonies the past five year. The criteria for us to employ someone makes it more challenging.”
Boykin said several PATS drivers are retired and err on the older side, causing vacancies from COVID fears as well.
“I thank the city for its support,” he told commissioners. “It’s dwindled in the past, but you’re supporting us now and you’ve been a constant, and we thank you. Everyone is doing more with less right now.”
The city held a first reading on an ordinance to move funds in the fiscal year 2023 for public vehicle purchases: a Police Department transit van for $66,327, a Fire Department special service vehicle for $46,755 and a Solid Waste Department knuckle boom crane for $155,793.
Chris Yarber, director of public works, said while the board had voted prior in FY 2022, supply chain issues required another approval.
The board also approved the Solid Waste Department’s purchase of one front loader refuse truck and one side arm refuse truck for $316,469 and $341,338, respectively.
The city announced the Junior Duke and Duchess of Paducah awards — similar to its adult analog but for local youth.
Nyla Holder, a soon-to-be Lone Oak Middle School eighth-grader, received a Duchess award for her local volunteer work, including the McCracken County Humane Society and Book for Hope.
The city welcomed new firefighter recruits Nick Bogart, Kobe Bridges, Nick Hatton, Hunter Matlock, Trayle Prescott, Matt Uhlry and Mike Winnans.
“Welcome aboard,” Bray told them.
In other business:
- The city approved $74,185 and $65,481 payments to Paducah Power System for utility relocation, respectively, in the South 24th and 25th Streets and Buckner Lane Bridge Improvement Projects. American Rescue Plan Act monies contribute to both projects.
- Members authorized a $31,444 reimbursement to the Paducah-McCracken County Convention and Expo Center for the dome pavilion setup during April’s Quilt Week.
- The city approved a $75,000 contract with Sprocket, a digital economic development nonprofit, for FY 2023.
- The commission declared property at 1404 Madison St. for sale. Originally acquired for the Fountain Avenue Revitalization program, a resident is purchasing the land for a residential home.
- The board approved a memorandum of understanding on incentives, including a property tax rebate, for the consensual annexation of 3520 Olivet Church Road, approved at the July 26 meeting.
- The city held a second reading on an ordinance to repeal and replace telecommunications ordinances adopted in 1998. Mayor George Bray has repeatedly explained how the changes reflect advancing technology, and multiple companies have inquired with the city about rights-of-way utilization.