City officials hope the second time will be the charm for their application for a "very competitive" federal grant.
The Paducah City Commission approved a joint resolution Tuesday supporting the partnership between the city and McCracken County related to the city's application for a Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or BUILD, grant. The city submitted an application for the U.S. Department of Transportation grant last year, as well.
"We unfortunately did not receive the BUILD grant. However, Commissioner (Sandra) Wilson, (Planning Director) Tammara (Tracy) and I went to D.C. and sat in front of the review staff and got very specific recommendations on how to improve," Mayor Brandi Harless said. "We are going to be way more competitive this year than (we were) last year."
The proposed project includes the construction of a riverport container transfer yard, a riverboat excursion pier and plaza, pedestrian and bike linkages from the Convention Center to the riverfront and improvements to the area where the Executive Inn once stood, city spokeswoman Pam Spencer said.
"This is a true community partnership," Harless said, noting the McCracken County Fiscal Court passed a resolution in support of it at its meeting Monday night.
The application is due July 15, after which Harless said the city will "get to work on making all the phone calls and visiting all the people we need to" in order to gain approval.
The Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce also has prioritized the project and will put its full weight behind it, Harless added.
"It's very, very competitive, but you can't get it if you don't ask for it," said Wilson, who is also Chamber president.
The city is applying jointly with the Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority for the grant, which would help to provide "needed surface transportation infrastructure investment linking land and water" for the benefit of Paducah and McCracken County, the commission's packet states.
In other business, the commission approved an ordinance to adopt the balanced budget for the fiscal year that runs from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020. The total budget of $71,327,330 includes $35.3 million in expenditures from the general fund, the city's main operating fund.
The budgeting process typically starts in January, Harless noted, but staff began planning in August 2018 due to the state-mandated increase in pension payments from Kentucky cities.
"Our staff did a lot of deep diving for many, many months," the mayor said. "I do want to continue to encourage our community to learn about that budget. It is a complicated, huge document, but it is available."
The budget book for the upcoming fiscal year will be available on the city's website in the next few weeks. Budgets dating to 2005 also can be found there.