Over the past few months, the Paducah Board of Commissioners and the McCracken County Fiscal Court have been discussing sports and recreation opportunities in the City and County. Currently, the process is underway for companies to submit their qualifications to design an indoor recreation facility and baseball/softball and soccer fields. To assist in funding these significant recreational attractions, the City and County have decided to move forward with changes to the Transient Room Tax and the creation of a new agency, the McCracken County Tourism Sports Commission. Furthermore, the current Convention & Visitors Bureau would become a city entity instead of a joint city-county entity.
The first ordinance introduced was for an Interlocal Agreement among the City of Paducah, McCracken County, the Paducah Convention and Visitors Bureau, Paducah-McCracken County Convention Center Corporation, and the McCracken County Tourism Sports Commission. This agreement would empower the McCracken County Tourism Sports Commission to pursue the long term development, design, construction, operation, maintenance, sales, and marketing of tournament-worthy sports facilities. Plus, the agreement assures the continued collection of the portion of the transient room tax dedicated to debt payments for the Carson Center and Convention Center.
The current transient room tax (a tax that is paid by guests who stay at local hotel and motel establishments) is 6 percent. The tax is collected by McCracken County. Out of that 6 percent, half of the funds (3%) go to the Paducah-McCracken County Convention & Visitors Bureau with the other half used to fund the Paducah-McCracken County Convention Center Corporation (1%) and pay debt payments (2%) on the Carson Center and Convention Center.
The interlocal agreement would change the transient room tax structure and the total collections. There would be a County Room Tax on all rooms within the County (including rooms within the City) with the percentages as follows:
Furthermore, there would be a City Room Tax on all rooms with the Paducah city limits with the percentages as follows:
The City room tax would be in addition to the County room tax for rooms within the Paducah city limits.
To clarify the changes, the Paducah Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance to rename the Paducah-McCracken County Convention & Visitors Bureau as the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau. The City will have the sole authority to appoint the board, and all current board members will remain on the Board for the duration of their current terms. This ordinance also amends Paducah’s Code of Ordinances Sections 2-441 and 2-445 to reflect the changes.
The final ordinance introduced established the City of Paducah Transient Room Tax as outlined in the interlocal agreement. The City Transient Room Tax is 4 percent with funds supporting the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Convention Center facilities. The County will collect the tax on behalf of City.
Bradley James with Socially Present, a local marketing company, provided the Paducah Board of Commissioners an overview of the Partake in Paducah campaign and its relationship to Greater Paducah Economic Development’s Forward Paducah plan. A couple of the tactics in the Forward Paducah plan are to build a unified brand identity for the Paducah area and raise awareness of the career and lifestyle amenities in this region. In addition to its website, Partake in Paducah can be found on Facebook and Instagram. Marketing efforts include a presence on Tanager Advertising, the Hibbs Insurance billboard on Lone Oak Road, and the westkentuckystar.com website. Partake in Paducah is full of stories of Paducah’s history, people, and culture with the goals of job creation and recruitment. James explained that Partake in Paducah has various partners assisting with the marketing costs. He ended the presentation with an invitation for the City of Paducah to become a funding partner.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance to amend Paducah Code of Ordinances Section 2-315 regarding firefighter training and qualifications. This amendment would lower the minimum hiring age from 21 to 19 years of age. The goal is to attract additional applicants who would like to pursue careers as firefighters. Paducah Fire Chief Steve Kyle hopes that this change will help in recruiting efforts.