City Commission Meeting Highlights, January 31, 2017

Commission-Manager Partnership Guidelines

City Manager Jeff Pederson discussed with the Paducah Board of Commissioners and the Department Directors the updating of a document approved in 2009 that outlines partnership guidelines and roles and responsibilities for the elected officials, city manager, and staff.  Paducah operates under a City Manager Plan as outlined in KRS 83A.150.  Pederson explained that governance in Paducah’s form of government relies on the partnership of elected officials, who set policy and priorities, and city staff, who analyze problems and issues, make recommendations, and implement the policies.  Pederson says, “This is a working relationship intended to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of city government.”  Mayor Brandi Harless says she finds the structure of Paducah’s government very appealing due to its consistency and partnerships.  Mayor Harless says, “It’s obvious that we get to have a high-level professional staff.”  The group in attendance received a draft document that addresses roles of elected officials and staff in addition to communication guidelines and concepts that would maximize the effectiveness of this form of government.   Once in final form, the document will be adopted as a Municipal Order at a future Commission meeting.  


Selection of Criteria for Ranking Capital Projects

Each year, the City of Paducah develops a list of capital projects for discussion during the budget season.  However, there has not been a formal ranking process.  Discussion about capital projects and the need for a prioritization process occurred during the Next Steps Workshop held July 27, 2016 following the National Citizen Survey.  At this meeting, City Manager Jeff Pederson and Assistant to the City Manager Michelle Smolen led the Paducah Board of Commissioners and Department Directors through a process to select criteria that will be used to prioritize projects.  Selecting criteria and implementing a capital project prioritization process aid in decision-making since the criteria are used to objectively rank projects, which is especially helpful when a project may exceed available resources. 

Over the last few months, an internal team has been researching and evaluating best practices used to prioritize projects.  The internal team evaluated the process used in ten other organizations including Bowling Green, KY, Tyler, TX, and the North Dakota University System.  The team found that the organizations used a range of 5 to 13 criteria in evaluating projects with the most common number of criteria being nine.  The criteria are often divided into two categories:  outcome and technical.  The outcome criteria relate to how the project impacts a goal while the technical criteria focus more on finances, legislation, and timing.  

The internal team determined a list of nine possible outcome-based criteria with the goal of having the list reduced to five.  After discussion and voting, the elected officials and staff selected these five outcome-based criteria:

  • Safety – Does the project improve public safety and/or promote well-being while reducing risk for the community?
  • Property, Plant & Infrastructure Integrity – Does the project sustain the maintenance and/or improve existing systems and facilities
  • Community Development – Does the project promote strategic and sustainable residential and commercial districts?
  • Economic Vitality – Does the project promote or contribute to the economic vitality?
  • Recreation – Does the project enhance cultural, recreational, or learning opportunities by making the City a more favorable place to live?

The outcome criteria will be used to rank projects during the budget process.  Each project also will be ranked using five technical criteria:

  • Legal Mandate/Regulatory Compliance – Is the project legally required by legislation to address a current or future mandate?
  • Implications of Deferring the Project – Will deferring the project create unsafe conditions and/or result in significant future costs, loss of service, or system failure?
  • Relationship to Other Projects/Coordination – Is the project timely, and will it sequentially work with other existing or proposed community projects?
  • Capital Fiscal Impact – Are the funds already dedicated or available for the project, and/or does the project leverage outside funding?
  • Operational Budget Impact – Does the City have the existing capacity (staff, equipment, resources, etc.) to support the project?

The next step will be for staff to use the prioritization process on a list of potential capital projects in February.  Then, the project rankings and funding options will be presented at a City Commission pre-budget workshop.