Approval of Assistant Chief Brandon Barnhill as Paducah Police Chief
After meeting in closed session as permitted by KRS 61.810(1)(f) for issues that might lead to the appointment, dismissal, or disciplining of an employee, the Mayor and Commissioners approved a motion upon the recommendation of City Manager Jeff Pederson to name Assistant Chief Brandon Barnhill as the next Paducah Police Chief. Barnhill started his career with the Paducah Police Department in 1998. Prior to coming to the Paducah PD, Barnhill worked for the Murray Police Department as a dispatcher and patrol officer. With the Paducah Police Department, Barnhill moved up the ranks from patrolman to Assistant Chief, serving as Assistant Chief since 2010. Barnhill has a Bachelor of Science in Independent Studies from Murray State University and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Andrew Jackson University.
City Manager Jeff Pederson decided to search for the next police chief by limiting the search to internal candidates giving credit to the vast experience-base and leadership qualities already in place in the Paducah Police Department. Four candidates applied for the position, Assistant Chief Brandon Barnhill, Assistant Chief Stacey Grimes, Captain Brian Krueger, and Captain Shawn Maxie, and went through a rigorous schedule of interviews with law enforcement experts, community stakeholders, and the City Manager. On July 26, former Paducah Police Chief James Berry informed the City Manager that he was resigning effective August 9. Berry accepted the position of Director of University Safety and Security Affairs at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. He began his new position August 16. Berry served as Paducah’s Police Chief since July 20, 2009.
Property Tax Levy Public Hearing and Ordinance Introduction (vote September 24)
After a property tax levy public hearing near the beginning of the Commission meeting, the Mayor and Commissioners introduced an ordinance setting the real estate and personal property taxes for fiscal year 2014. The City’s real estate tax levy is proposed to increase from 25 cents per $100 assessed value to 25.5 cents per $100 assessed value. For a property owner with a home assessed at $50,000, this half penny increase equals an increase in their property tax bill of $2.50. The City’s Compensating Rate, the rate that would keep the revenue at the same amount as 2013, is 24.6 cents per $100 assessed value. Kentucky Revised Statutes permits a city to adjust the compensating rate upward by not more than 4 percent. Please note that the City’s real estate tax rate has dropped significantly over the past nearly two decades from 43.8 cents per $100 assessed value in 1995. In a survey of 18 Kentucky cities taken October 2012, Paducah’s tax rate fell in the middle of those surveyed. Also on the tax bill, residents may notice a change in the amount going to the Paducah Independent School District. This summer the school board raised its tax rate by two cents. The school district’s increase equals a $10 increase on the tax bill for a home assessed at $50,000.
The ordinance also outlines the levies for the Paducah Independent School System and the Paducah Junior College. A document showing citizens how to calculate their property tax bill is located on the city’s website, www.paducahky.gov, under the Finance Department. For example, a home assessed at $50,000 in the City of Paducah and in the Paducah Independent School District will generate a property tax bill of $519.50.
Riverfront Redevelopment Project Discussion
City Manager Jeff Pederson and Public Information Officer Pam Spencer led the Mayor and Commissioners in a discussion on the next steps for the first phase of the Riverfront Redevelopment Project. Spencer showed images of how the expansion of Schultz Park could look once completed and how it could be utilized by the public. The 2007 Riverfront Master Plan listed several objectives for the park including maximizing physical and visual access to the riverfront and establishing a place for public gatherings and celebrations. Pederson explained that the City’s $4.49 million contract with MAC Construction for the installation of 316,550 tons of rock to create the base of a park and the installation of the 12 guide structures/pilings to support a gangway adjacent to Schultz Park is nearly complete. However, the project is not at the designed elevation and approximately two feet of settling already may have taken place. Pederson recommends allowing the contractor to finish the final few days of the project, and then the City should take time to review the entire project with respect to existing funding including grants. Several Commissioners voiced their support in take a step back to review the project. Commissioner Sandra Wilson says, “I want to the see the riverfront developed. But I think it’s right to take a pause.” Pederson further recommends referring the project to the Paducah Riverfront Development Authority (PRDA). The six member board and its Executive Director, Steve Doolittle, will work with the Engineering-Pubic Works Department to provide recommendations for the project’s completion. PRDA Chairman Bruce Brockenborough says, “That’s one of our jobs is to take on a transformative project, to take on controversy. Our job is to make this apolitical.”
Emergency Roof Stabilization Assistance Program (vote September 24)
The Mayor and Commissioners introduced an ordinance for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Paducah and developer Tom Dunn for the emergency stabilization of the roof at 203 Broadway. This is the first project that will take advantage of the Roof Stabilization Assistance Program and its emergency request section approved by the City Commission last month. Dunn purchased the building at auction several weeks ago with plans to provide retail space on the first floor and apartments on the second through fifth floors. He has become aware of structural damage and roof deterioration, totaling an estimated $250,000, needing immediate action. In the MOU, the City will reimburse Dunn in an amount not to exceed $100,000 for the work to stabilize the structure and roof. In August 2013, the Mayor and Commissioners established a Roof Stabilization Program to assist property owners within a defined area of historic downtown Paducah. The goals of the program are to stabilize buildings to promote redevelopment and to prevent further decline which could lead to greater expenditures by the City of Paducah through demolition.
Economic Incentives for Whitehall Industries
The Mayor and Commissioners approved a municipal order for economic incentives for Whitehall Industries in the amount of $125,000. The funds are Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development funds that were previously allocated to a 2008 project involving a different company that never came to fruition in Paducah. The City is serving as a pass-through agency for the funds and with the Cabinet’s permission can allocate the funds to other economic development projects. Whitehall Industries is locating an aluminum extrusion manufacturing plant in Industrial Park West. The funds would be used for the purchase of an aluminum extrusion press. Extrusion is a process that shapes a material. In this case, aluminum is forced to flow through a shaped opening to create a product for the automobile industry. Whitehall creates products for numerous automotive makers in addition to other industries. Whitehall Industries has committed to the creation of 150 jobs.
Memorandum of Understanding for Economic Incentives for Superior Care (vote September 24)
The Mayor and Commissioners introduced an ordinance for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Paducah and Superior Care Homes. The City will provide a cash grant of $20,000 as an economic incentive for use for the sewer tap-on fee for the new facility under construction in Paducah Commerce Park on more than 21 acres at 100 Marshall Court next to Highway 62. Superior Care is relocating its offices and care facility. The $10 million project will retain the facility’s 115 employees in addition to creating 25 new jobs.
Construction Contract for Greenway Trail Project (Noble Park to U.S. 45X)
The Mayor and Commissioners approved an ordinance for a contract with Harper Construction, LLC in the amount of $672,502.45 for the construction of the next phase of the Greenway Trail. Bids were advertised for the project with the bid opening on August 14. Harper submitted the lowest, responsive bid out of the five bids received. The bid amount is much less than the engineering cost estimate. On August 28, the State approved Harper’s bid allowing the City to move forward. Construction will begin later this year with the contract specifying 150 consecutive calendar days to complete the project.
This phase of the Greenway Trail project consists of the construction of approximately 6,200 linear feet (1.2 miles) of a concrete pedestrian and bicycle trail on the City's floodwall levee. This phase connects the City’s two existing trail segments. This new segment trail will begin at Noble Park next to the Skatepark and wind along the top of the floodwall earthen levee. The trail will involve crossing Cairo Road (KY 305) with signage and pavement markings to alert the trail-users and drivers. The trail also involves the construction of a 52-foot long lighted underpass to allow the safe crossing of North 8th Street (U.S. 45X). The underpass involves trail-users taking a gentle path off the floodwall levee, traversing the short underpass, and then going back up onto the levee. Retaining walls will be on either end of the underpass as you go up and down the levee. Please note that to complete the underpass, the Brookport Bridge will need to be temporarily closed for a short time during the construction period.
This phase of the project is funded primarily by a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Transportation Enhancement Grant in the amount of $500,000. The City also has funds available from the Boyles Estate Community Foundation which is an endowment designated for walking and biking trails in the City. The City also has remaining funds from a previous Greenway Trail project.
The City currently has two sections of trail available to the public. In 2008, the City opened a 1.75 mile trail segment between Noble Park and County Park Road. In 2012, the 1.67 mile segment between Campbell Street (next to Paducah Expo Center) and North 8th Street (U.S. 45) opened. A future phase through Perkins Creek Nature Preserve is under design. Once completed, the Greenway Trail will stretch 5.3 miles linking residential neighborhoods with the Perkins Creek Nature Preserve, three city parks, and the riverfront.
Contract for Julian Carroll Convention Center Renovation Project
The Mayor and Commissioners approved an ordinance for a contract with Marcum Engineering to provide the scoping, engineering, design, and bid documents for the final phase of the Julian Carroll Convention Center Renovation Project. This project specifically targets the former Executive Inn Showroom space including the kitchen area and the former Kinkaid’s and JRs Pub. Marcum will be reimbursed based upon 7.875% of the construction cost and 6.3% of the cost of any work not constructed in additional to reimbursable expenses. The Julian Carroll Convention Center received significant renovations in 2009; however, the Showroom area was not part of that phase of the project since at that time, the Showroom was part of the Executive Inn Hotel. The City now owns the Showroom. Earlier this year, City staff cleared the Showroom to provide an empty shell that is now ready for design and improvements. Since the City is seeking to sell the dome pavilion due to its location being the preferred site for the downtown hotel under negotiation, the Showroom area which has about 31,000 square feet of space will be able to replace desired convention space.
Bond Issue for TeleTech, Macco, and Noble Park Pool
The Mayor and Commissioners approved an ordinance for the sale of general obligation bonds in the amount of $3.6 million. Finance Director Jonathan Perkins says, with interest payments and the cost to issue a bond, the total cost of the bond issue over the 15-year period will be slightly more than $5 million. A municipal order was approved to advertise for the public sale of the bonds on September 19. The bond issue is for three projects: the Noble Park Pool Renovations, TeleTech Services Corporation, and Macco Organiques.
Approximately $1.115 million of the bond issue is for the Noble Park Pool Renovation Project which was completed this summer. The pool received a new liner, gutter system, and treatment and filtration system in addition to canopies, new seating, a spray pad, new slides, and diving boards. The concession stand was upgraded to expand the menu. The pool had not been significantly renovated since 1992.
The remaining bond funds in the amount of $2.485 million are for two economic development projects, TeleTech and Macco. As announced in November 2012, TeleTech is bringing a call center to Paducah and will employ 450 full-time employees with benefits. The majority of the employees will be housed in a new 30,000 square foot facility to be constructed on 8.7 acres on McCracken Boulevard in Paducah Commerce Park with the remaining employees at the former Commerce Center facility located at 401 Kentucky Avenue. The City and County each are contributing funds toward the building’s construction in Paducah Commerce Park. The building will be owned by the City and County.
This spring, it was announced that Macco Organiques will locate a manufacturing and distribution facility for food-grade pharmaceuticals in Paducah utilizing the 60,000 square foot spec building located at 5455 Commerce Drive in the I-24 Logistics Park (formerly Industrial Park West). The City and County each are investing to improve the spec building while retaining the building’s ownership.
· National Quilt Museum Executive Director Frank Bennett provided the Mayor and Commissioners with an annual update on the museum’s activities. In the past fiscal year, approximately 38,000 visitors attended the museum, an increase of 8 percent over the past fiscal year.
· Presentations were made by Mary Hammond and Paula Bright to the following businesses as recipients of the Paducah Civic Beautification Board’s 2013 Annual Business Awards: Immanuel Baptist Church, Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce, St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church, Paducah & Louisville Railway, Hutson of Paducah, Paducah Water, Auburn Place Hotel & Suites, Holiday Inn Express, Walker Hall, Independence Bank, Stringworks, and the Paducah Housing Authority.
· Human Resources Director Cindy Medford recognized the retirements of Paducah Police Officer Michael Simak, Fire Captain David Jeffords, and Fire Captain Thomas Morgan.
· Ordinance approved for a contract with D&D Construction in the amount of $127,370 for the construction of a home at 1403 Monroe Street as part of the 2012 HOME grant project.
· Ordinance approved for Change Order #1 with Bluegrass Fire Equipment Company, Inc. as the vendor and Pierce Manufacturing, Inc. as the manufacturer for the purchase of two triple combination pumper trucks for use by the Fire Department. The total pre-payment amount is $832,354. During assembly, it was discovered that additional items including folding steps with handrails and additional wiring totaling $3366 need to be added to the trucks. With this change order, the new contract price will be $835,720.
· Ordinance introduced (vote Sept. 24) to amend the Code of Ordinances Section 126-76 (g) to allow apartment complexes in residential zones to have identification signs that meet specific guidelines.
· Ordinance introduced (vote Sept. 24) for a zone change from R-2 (Low and Medium Density Residential Zone) to R-4 (High Density Residential Zone) for the vacant property at 625 and 637 Hayden Avenue. E&T Enterprises would like to construct a new parking area for the medical offices currently located at 546 Lone Oak Road, and these parcels are adjacent to the existing property. The Planning Commission made a positive recommendation at its September 4 meeting.
· Ordinance introduced (vote Sept. 24) to accept the grant in the amount of $24,270 from the Federal Department of Homeland Security Port Security Grant Program. The funds would be used to purchase cameras to provide video surveillance of the new boat launch facility under construction off Burnett and North 6th Streets. No local match is required.
· Ordinance introduced (vote Sept. 24) to accept the Justice Assistance Grant in the amount of $13,382 for various equipment for the Paducah Police Department. No local match is required.
· Ordinance introduced (vote Sept. 24) for an amendment to the existing lease agreement between the City of Paducah and New Cingular Wireless to allow for additional equipment to be installed on the City-owned radio tower located at 510 Clark Street which is downtown near the Paducah-McCracken County E-911 facility. The amendment also increases the lease payment New Cingular pays to the City by $450 per month.