The Paducah City Commission held the first reading on a consensual annexation Tuesday night, welcomed Michael Adams, Kentucky secretary of state, and approved an agreement for a new nonprofit entity to take over running the Barbecue on the River event from the previous operator.

Commissioners approved an agreement for $25,000 in funding and promotion support to Beautiful Paducah, the nonprofit that has acquired assets and liabilities from the previous entity.

Commissioners introduced an annexation for 5250 and 5266 US Highway 60 West, some 1.5 acres with a Sonic Drive-in and Taco John’s, for tax reimbursement and sanitation pick-up incentives. The Paducah Planning Commission will vote on a highway business rezoning.

Mayor George Bray called recent local annexation contention “tough stuff.”

“I’ve been talking to a lot of other mayors who experience the same thing, and my focus is on the whole community, which includes the county,” Bray said. “I think we need to (expand) our vision a bit in the way we take this on in the future.”

Commissioners introduced $3 million for the Barkley Regional Airport new terminal project and a $463,000 reduction for a floodwall flap gate construction contract.

“This is a mitigation effort for an area in town that floods quite frequently,” said Paducah City Engineer Rick Murphy, explaining the project would significantly reduce said flooding.

An introduced ordinance allocates $600,000 for city facility improvement. Bray spoke of the need for a rainy-day fund — something he found lacking.

“The intention here is to get ahead of business maintenance and take it a step further,” Bray said. “If we need to replace some (vital) building, we won’t be wringing our hands … the process to begin is important and is going to take a number of years, but it will make a huge difference.”

At the beginning of the meeting, Bray welcomed Adams. Before presenting him a Duke of Paducah award, he thanked Adams for his efforts in election reform, “making it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” calling him a guiding light in an often-acrimonious political landscape.

Adams discussed House Bill 564 — signed by Governor Andy Beshear on April 7 — that will expand the voting window for future elections.

“We’d be furious if the Department of Motor Vehicles were only open one day a week; we need higher expectations for our public process as well,” Adams said.

In other action:

• Commissioners read a $1.9-million contract for the Buckner Lane Bridge replacement project, with $1.7 allocated from American Rescue Plan Act funding.

• Commissioners read a $48,000 contract modification for a South 24th and 25th streets improvement project.

• An adopted zoning text amendment includes a streamlined submittal process for developers, a lower size requirement for planned units and a proposal for cryptocurrency mining in business zones for buildings less than 105,000 square feet.

• McCracken County Coroner Amanda Melton praised local law enforcement officers for the kind public rapport they’ve cultivated — often during moments of duress.

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