City Commission Meeting Highlights, February 28, 2017

Development of the City of Paducah Comprehensive Storm Water Master Plan (CSMP) (vote in March)

The Paducah Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance to execute an Agreement for Technical Services with Strand Associates, Inc. in an amount not to exceed $790,000 for professional engineering, consulting, and related services for the development of a comprehensive storm water master plan (CSMP).  Strand is partnering with the local firm, BFW Engineering & Testing, Inc.  The most recent storm water study was completed in 1989 and looked at only five flood-prone areas.

From May 20 until June 17, 2016, the City of Paducah solicited a request for qualifications from experienced consulting engineering firms for the development of a CSMP.  Six firms submitted their qualifications.  A selection committee comprised of City Engineer & Public Works Director Rick Murphy, Storm Water & Drainage Engineer Eric Hickman, Joint Sewer Agency Executive Director John Hodges, and Paducah Economic Development President/CEO Scott Darnell reviewed and scored each submission.  Firms were given the opportunity to make a presentation to the selection committee with three firms making presentations on August 4.  After the review and presentation process, the selection committee unanimously recommends Strand Associates, Inc.   Strand has been in existence since 1946.  It has 380 employees and 11 offices including two in Kentucky.  Strand has extensive experience in community and storm water modelling and master planning. 

Prior to the ordinance introduction, Principal-In-Charge/Senior Planning Advisor John Lyons and Project Manager Michael Woolum with Strand Associates in addition to Assistant Project Manager Kenny McDaniel with BFW made a presentation to the Paducah Board of Commissioners.  Woolum says that Strand is committed to determining meaningful improvements to the flooding problems that the Paducah community is facing.  Over the past few months, Strand has been researching the Paducah area to understand the areas of existing flooding, rainfall data, existing storm water conveyance systems (both natural and manmade), and topography. 

To create an effective CSMP, Strand will study several factors unique to the Paducah area including the characteristics of the local watersheds and the potential for future growth.  Computer models will be calibrated based on actual events with a design around specific storms and rainfall rates.  The CSMP will recommend the appropriate level of flood control and cost-effective solutions.  Strand proposes to have public meetings throughout the process to provide citizen outreach and to manage the public’s expectations through education.   Lyons says, “This project/program is not intended to eliminate flooding.  This is about risk management.”  Lyons says the project team will be working with the City and other partners to determine the appropriate level of service in managing the storm water.  That will lead to the development of feasible, cost-effective solutions.  Lyons adds that you have to understand what you have today regarding existing storm water conveyance systems and then look at how to optimize their function.

The CSMP will provide the City of Paducah the identification of ten priority flood areas, the analysis of flood mitigation alternatives, a prioritized ranking of projects along with a benefit cost analysis, and the development of a capital project program.   If approved by the Paducah Board of Commissioners, the CSMP process has an anticipated completion date by the end of 2018.  


Union Agreements with FOP and IAFF

The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved two ordinances for contracts between the City and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 168 and between the City and the Fraternal Order of Police.  Each current contract expires June 30, 2017.  The new contracts are three-year contracts which will be in effect from July 1, 2017 until June 30, 2020.  Negotiations between the City and both unions were held in January and February with both memberships voting to approve the contracts.  Both contracts include proposed annual wage increases of 1.5%, 1.75%, and 2.0% in 2017, 2018, and 2019.  The FOP contract was signed by the City’s FOP Bargaining Unit President Corey Willenborg and Mayor Brandi Harless.  IAFF President Barry Carter along with Mayor Harless signed the IAFF contract.


Agreement for Noble Park Lake Bank Stabilization Project-Phase II

The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance accepting the bid of $242,980 by Youngblood Excavating & Contracting, LLC (YEC) for the Noble Park Lake Bank Stabilization Project-Phase II.  Two bids were received for this project with YEC providing the lowest, responsive bid.  Phase I of the project occurred in 2014 with the installation of metal sheet piling to create a retaining wall to stabilize the erosion of 665 linear feet of bank on the southeastern side of Noble Park Lake.  Phase II will include the installation of approximately 650 linear feet of steel sheet piling and concrete cap along the south and west bank of the Noble Park Lake to match the first phase of the project. Additionally, while the water is lowered, all of the steel sheet piling surfaces from both phases will be sandblasted and painted with a black vinyl finish to protect and add to the life expectancy of the project.  This phase will have a contract timeframe of 150 consecutive calendar days with work expected to begin this spring.


Revisions to Taxi Cab Ordinance

The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance to amend the sections of Chapter 122 of the Paducah Code of Ordinances related to taxicabs.  One amendment outlines that the City’s ordinance does not govern transportation network company vehicles commonly known as ride-share vehicles. Uber is an example of the type of company that is not regulated by the City of Paducah and therefore not prevented from operating in the City.  The code amendment also reflects new requirements for an individual to be granted or disqualified from receiving a taxicab driver’s license by the City.  The amendments prevent someone convicted of a sex crime or a Class A or Class B felony from obtaining a taxicab driver’s license.   The amendment also updates the inspection process and the process for seizure, suspension, and/or renovation of taxicab driver’s licenses and taxicab inspection stickers.  There also is language related to the conduct of taxicab drivers.


Amendment to Upper Story Residential Grant Program Ordinance

The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance to amend Chapter 34, Article III of the Paducah Code of Ordinances for the Upper Story Residential Grant Program.  The grant program’s goal is to increase the housing options downtown which in turn will increase the area’s economic vitality.  Planning Director Steve Ervin says, “Obviously the redevelopment of structures downtown is very expensive.”  Ervin adds that increasing upper story residences in a downtown spurs first floor commercial activity.  The amendment expands the grant eligibility to include upper story owner-occupied residential units.  Before this amendment, only residential rental units were eligible for the grant funds.  The grant program allows property owners/developers in a defined area of downtown Paducah to apply for financial assistance from the City that shall not exceed 20% of the construction costs or a maximum of $15,000 per upper story residential rental unit.  For a residential owner-occupied unit, the grant is either 15% of the construction costs or a maximum of $15,000 per unit. 


Audit Contract

The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance for a contract with Kemper CPA Group, LLC for the preparation of the city’s financial audits and related reports for the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.  The contract is for fiscal years 2017 through 2020 in an amount not to exceed $215,000.


Release Deed Restriction for 511 North 5th Street

The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved a municipal order to release the deed restriction for the property located at 511 North 5th Street.  When the City sold the property to the current property owner, the deed included a restriction allowing the property to revert to the City if the property owner did not complete the improvements to the property as proposed.  The property owner had planned to demolish the existing structure to build a new home.  However, the owner now plans to rehabilitate the structure.  Since this represents a significant investment in the property, the City is releasing the deed restriction.