- Mayor George Bray said that Paducah’s riverfront has several dead fish. The Parks & Recreation Department is collecting and disposing of them daily and plans to have the Paducah Fire Department assist in washing the area near the riverfront. This is an annual problem with fish that have gas bubble disease.
- In reference to the City and County agreement to each provide $3 million toward Barkley Regional Airport’s new terminal, Mayor Bray said he hopes the project comes in under budget and that a portion of the City and County’s funds will not be needed.
- Last week, Paducah hosted the Energy Communities Alliance (ECA) Forum. This international meeting focused on topics including nuclear power development and infrastructure. This was a timely meeting as Paducah and McCracken County work to find a new future for the former Paducah gaseous diffusion plant.
- Mayor Bray acknowledged the work to prepare the Fiscal Year 2024 budget.
Fiscal Year 2024 Budget
The Paducah Board of Commissioners introduced the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Ordinance which, once approved, will be effective July 1. City Manager Daron Jordan and Controller Audra Kyle provided an overview of the budget. City Manager Jordan thanked the Board, the Finance Department, and Assistant City Manager Michelle Smolen for their assistance in preparing this budget. City Manager Jordan says this budget is fiscally conservative since inflationary pressures have created an uncertain fiscal landscape. However, the budget addresses and funds the Commission’s priorities determined in March.
The FY2024 budget is roughly $99.2 million dollars when all funding accounts and transfers are considered. Of that amount, the City’s main operating fund, the General Fund, is $46.1 million, and the Investment Fund is $6.2 million. A few of the budget highlights are as follows:
- Includes all annual debt service payment obligations;
- Includes 6% wage adjustments as contractually obligated for IAFF, FOP, and AFSCME; and 6% for non-represented full-time employees;
- Allows for the minimum 10% reserve requirement in the General, Investment, and Solid Waste funds;
- Uses $2.1 million in reserves from the General Fund to balance the budget; however, with fiscally conservative budgeting, the hope is that these funds will not be needed;
- Requires approximately $1.1 million from General Fund to fund the revenue shortfall in 911 operations;
- Includes State mandated pension contributions;
- Includes appropriations for numerous outside agencies including $173,000 through the Grant-in-Aid program, funds for the Hotel Metropolitan’s roof, and upgrades to Paxton Park Golf Course;
- Includes a 30% funding increase as compared to the current fiscal year in street rehabilitation funds;
- Includes funding to create a Greenway Trail/Bike Path Master Plan.
City Manager Jordan also mentioned that FY2024 will be an exciting time for Paducah with several projects underway including the Outdoor Sports Complex, the Cherry Civic Center Renovation Project, City Block Project, Riverfront Redevelopment through the BUILD Grant, addition of pickleball courts to Noble Park, and the completion of the floodwall rehabilitation project.
Southside Neighborhoods Initiative – Housing and Economic Programs
Planning Director Nic Hutchison and Business Development Specialist Melanie Reason outlined proposed incentive programs for the Southside. They thanked the work of the Southside Steering Committee in helping develop these proposed incentives which are divided into two categories: economic opportunity and housing.
The economic opportunity incentives would be for Southside businesses employing 50 people or fewer to receive roof stabilization grants or façade grants for exterior building improvements.
Housing incentives are divided into microgrants for home repairs in the Walter Jetton and part of the Uppertown neighborhoods. This would be a 50/50 grant with the maximum match amount of $5000 for exterior projects. The other housing program is for new construction and home rehabilitations with investments of at least $50,000. City funds, with a maximum award of $27,000, would be dispersed as a forgivable, 0% interest loan over a five-year period.
Oak Grove Cemetery Updates
Parks and Recreation Director Amie Clark presented an overview of upcoming changes to Paducah Code of Ordinances Chapter 26 regarding cemeteries. These changes would affect city-owned Oak Grove Cemetery. Several of the code updates are necessary to reflect current operations while other changes are to match State statues. From the public’s perspective, the main changes to the Code as proposed are as follows:
- With the exception of service animals, dogs, cats, and other animals are not permitted on cemetery grounds unless confined to a vehicle.
- Benches are no longer permitted as monuments. Existing benches will remain until such time it is determined that replacement is necessary. Then, the bench will be replaced with an approved monument.
- Services will no longer be permitted on Sundays and holidays.
- Updated fees will be $550 per grave plot and $6000-$7500 per mausoleum crypt.
Human Rights Commission
The Board introduced an ordinance to amend Paducah Code of Ordinances Section 58-32 related to the Human Rights Commission. This amendment changes the composition of the Human Rights Commission from five members to seven members. This change is in preparation for the repopulation and activation of the Commission. Mayor Bray said potential members will be interviewed in June with appointments expected in July. One of the first tasks for the new Human Rights Commission will be to review the existing ordinance and make any recommendations changes.
Additional Meeting Information
- Several new employees were introduced to the Board including Human Resources Administrative Assistant Brea Schofield, Firefighters Claydon Leneave, Jonathan Lawson, Michael Hall, and Payton Harris, and Deputy Fire Marshal Matthew Stevens.
- Along with providing an overview of the division, 911 Division Manager Kimberly Clark announced that the division recently received the Civic Interaction & Public Trust Tyler Excellence Award. Paducah is one of five agencies to receive this award from the thousands of departments supported by Tyler Technologies.
- Municipal Order approved to renew a one-year contract with Mobile Communications of America for the maintenance and service of 911 radio software and hardware.
- Municipal Order approved for a contract between the City of Paducah and the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau in the amount of $25,000 in support of the Spring 2023 Quilt Show marketing and promotions.
- Municipal Order approved authorizing the purchase agreement with Atlantic Emergency Solutions for a fire pumper truck.
- Ordinance approved for the consensual annexation of a portion of 252 Locust Avenue totaling 1.47 acres.
- Ordinance introduced to approve the three-year agreement between the City of Paducah and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) AFL-CIO, Local 1586. The agreement is from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2026.
- Ordinance introduced to amend Paducah Code of Ordinances Section 98-144 related to Special Events. This amendment puts into the code information found in the Special Events Policy.
- City Manager Jordan said approximately 20,000 people attended this year’s Lower Town Arts & Music Festival which is organized by Yeiser Art Center. The City contributed approximately $20,000 in direct financial and in-kind support for the festival.