Note: Commissioner Sandra Wilson was unable to attend this meeting.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners started the meeting with an exciting announcement from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC). KYTC Department of Rural and Municipal Aid Commissioner Gray Tomblyn, II announced that the City of Paducah will be receiving $650,000 in discretionary funds for the South 25th Street Project.
This project will improve the overall safety of South 25th Street from Jackson Street (U.S 45/60) toward Mayfield Road (KY 994). The roadway needs restoration and widening in addition to drainage and sidewalk improvements. The funding request application prepared by the City states, “The completion of this project will be of great value to both the City and KYTC as it will provide the interconnectivity of several area neighborhoods for safe walks to Paducah Tilghman High School, connections to area parks, and enhanced emergency access to Baptist Hospital.”
Mayor Brandi Harless says, “I’m grateful that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is providing this funding to immensely improve South 25th Street. This is a complete street and sidewalk restoration project for a roadway that connects several neighborhoods to Baptist Health Paducah, Paducah Tilghman High School, the Housing Authority of Paducah, and Brooks Stadium. This is one of those rare projects that checks numerous boxes. A revitalized South 25th Street will improve drainage, walkability, connectivity, and safety. It’s an incredible win for Paducah.”
City Manager Jim Arndt says, “This funding is an investment in Paducah and in Western Kentucky as a whole due to the visibility and use of the South 25th Street corridor. In addition to increasing the safety and quality of life for our citizens, this project will enhance the experience in Paducah for visitors to popular locations such as Brooks Stadium and Paducah Tilghman High School.”
In addition to improving traffic flow, reconstruction of South 25th Street will improve connectivity for approximately 2,000 citizens and 45 businesses.
Principal Planner Katie Axt provided an update to the Paducah Board of Commissioners on the City Block Project. In April 2019, the City entered into a 12-month preliminary development agreement with Louisville-based Weyland Ventures Development to undertake planning, design, and development for a 3-acre mixed use development on the existing municipal parking lot in downtown bounded by Second Street, Broadway, North Water Street, and Jefferson Street. The project, called City Block, would take the block and redevelop it with features that could include a 4-story, 120-room hotel along Jefferson Street between Water and 2nd Street, public parking spaces, open space for public gatherings, and mixed-use buildings along Broadway between Water and 2nd Street. In this agreement, the City is responsible for undertaking due diligence work for the site including environmental review, geotechnical analysis, utility assessment, and a parking assessment. For concept drawings showing the proposed project, visit www.paducahky.gov/downtown-redevelopment.
At this meeting, the Paducah Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance (vote October 22) to approve a budget amendment in the amount of $72,000 for professional geotechnical analysis and environmental review services for City Block. This amendment moves the funding from the Unreserved General Fund Fund Balance into the City Block Project Account.
Also at this meeting, the Paducah Board of Commissioners authorized a municipal order to provide a $85,185 payment to Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) for the required third-party consultant analysis for the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) application. The City of Paducah TIF application received preliminary approval on August 29 by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. Final approval is pending the analysis and preparation of the TIF consultant’s report as required by KRS 154.30-030 by an outside, third-party consultant that the City is responsible for compensating. The Department of Financial Services at KEDFA has selected the consultant.
Benefits Advisor DJ Story with Peel & Holland provided an overview of the City of Paducah’s 2020 health insurance plan through Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield as the City’s third-party administrator. Those who participate in the City’s health plan will have no change to their health insurance premiums as compared to this current year. The City has maintained the same health insurance premium rates for eight consecutive years which is quite unusual and an indication of the good management of the health plan and the City’s dedication to employee wellness. The City of Paducah has a self-insured health insurance plan which means the premiums paid into the plan by the employees are used to pay the claims. Story says, “Your employees haven’t had to experience the peaks and valleys other employers have had. Kuddos to everyone involved.”
Actions taken by the Paducah Board of Commissioners regarding health insurance are as follows: