A McCracken Circuit Court judge has denied the city of Paducah’s motion for summary judgment in a civil lawsuit involving the Tax Increment Financing district in downtown Paducah.
Circuit Judge Tim Kaltenbach’s ruling was entered on July 13, which came after a June 10 motion hearing at the McCracken County Courthouse.
The 8-page memorandum and order states the city defendants moved for the summary dismissal of the plaintiffs’ complaint. In the complaint, plaintiffs “challenge a Paducah city ordinance that authorizes tax increment financing for the redevelopment of downtown property.” The TIF ordinance was adopted in April 2019 by the previous Paducah City Commission.
Last year, in early November, a group filed a civil lawsuit in circuit court that seeks to prevent the city from acting upon its TIF ordinance.
The listed plaintiffs were Marshall and Alberta Davis, Mark and Paula Foglesong, Ronnie James, Kelly and Rebecca Ausbrooks, David and Linda Curtis, Beverly McKinley, Tony Veltri, Mike and Cindy Wyatt, Nicki Roof and Concerned Taxpayers of Paducah and McCracken County, KY, LLC.
“The city’s summary judgment motion will be denied because the taxpayers have standing to challenge the ordinance, the taxpayers’ complaint states a claim for which relief could be granted, and the taxpayers are entitled to conduct discovery on their claim that the city ordinance, Ordinance No. 2019-4-8569, is unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious,” according to the court’s ruling.
As previously reported, Paducah’s first TIF district received its final approval from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority in late March. The city had received preliminary TIF approval in August 2019.
KEDFA, which is within the Cabinet for Economic Development, authorized up to $21.4 million in tax increment financing for the city. Paducah’s first TIF district is made up of about 315 acres in the downtown and riverfront area.
A significant TIF district development is the City Block project, which involves Louisville-based developer, Weyland Ventures. The approximately $21 million project will feature a boutique hotel, parking, open space, and mixed-use buildings on the existing parking lot at Second and Broadway.
The Sun reached out to attorney David Kelly, who’s representing the city, about the judge’s ruling and about what’s next in the lawsuit. He’s with the Keuler, Kelly, Hutchins, Blankenship & Sigler, LLP law firm.
“Basically, the judge ruled that the plaintiffs are entitled to conduct discovery to further their case,” Kelly told The Sun on Tuesday.
“He didn’t rule on the merits that the ordinance is invalid. He basically said that the plaintiff had the right to take discovery and try to develop facts that would assist them in their argument.”
The Sun also reached out Tuesday to the plaintiffs’ attorney, Richard Walter, of Boehl Stopher & Graves, LLP. Walter did not immediately return the call.
“I would envision that we would, probably, maybe move for a scheduling order and have this advanced on the docket, because it’s a declaratory rights action — set a brief discovery schedule, and have it decided by the judge at the appropriate stage,” Kelly said, regarding the next steps.