Paducah's beautification efforts may get extra help soon thanks to a new agreement between the city and McCracken County Jail.
City leaders introduced an ordinance Tuesday allowing for use of Class D inmates in a city work program for six days each week from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. They would be supervised by deputies and work on right-of-ways throughout the city, litter abatement and other duties.
If approved, the agreement term spans March 1 through Nov. 30. It will automatically renew until terminated, according to city documents.
"Right now, we're going to use them to help us with the maintenance of our right-of-ways, primarily, and also working with the downtown crews on the improvements to the flower beds in the downtown area," City Manager Jim Arndt said. "That's our primary goal. Also, we'll do some landscaping work in that process."
Under the agreement, McCracken County Jail will provide two part-time deputies to supervise the workers, while the parks department will provide a 15-passenger van, fuel for the van, tools and equipment, training and maintenance duties for workers. The department also will provide wages for the part-time deputies at a base rate for no more than 48 hours per week combined.
Parks Director Mark Thompson noted Class D inmate workers haven't been used in recent years and that it'll give them "more hands." He thinks it'll be a big assistance.
"People always want flowers," Thompson said, regarding feedback on beautification. "People always want their city to look as good as possible and they don't say they specifically want Class D workers, but they always want their right-of-ways, their parks and all of those facilities to look top-notch. This will help us down the road."
Arndt called the arrangement a "win-win" since the city gets additional manpower and workers get skills, while McCracken County Jailer David Knight agreed that it's beneficial for both the city and county. He described Class D inmates as lower-level, nonviolent offenders.
"It benefits the city obviously for beautification reasons, but it helps provide jobs for our inmates to get them out and working in the community, which is our big goal," Knight said. "These inmates are able to get time off their sentences for work credit."
Knight said the agreement has to go through the city commission and McCracken County Fiscal Court, but he doesn't anticipate "major hold-ups" with it. The city's ordinance vote is scheduled for Feb. 25.