Consulting Services for Columbia Theater
Paducah Renaissance Alliance (PRA) Executive Director Lisa Thompson made a presentation on the importance of restoring the historic Columbia Theatre on Broadway. Thompson says the goal is to restore the city-owned theatre to its original grandeur and preserve an important piece of architecture. Thompson adds that restoration of the Columbia could provide an economic boost to the entire downtown area. “It will become a point on Broadway like an anchor store at a shopping mall,” says Thompson. Currently, the City is working to restore the marquee lighting and the front entrance doors. Thompson says other partners are providing their expertise to save the Columbia including the creation of a website by Emerging Media, the donation of materials and the installation of temporary electric service by Crown Electric, and the donation of time and materials by Ray Black & Son. A preliminary environmental assessment has been completed. Thompson says the next step is to develop a master plan that would include pre-design services, cost evaluations, architecture designs, engineering specifications, and special financing mechanisms. PRA and its board of advisors recommend engaging Westlake, Reed, and Leskosky to complete the concept study for the Columbia and ask the City to allocate $33,000 for the plan and reimbursable expenses. Action to transfer the funds will be before the Mayor and Commissioners at an upcoming meeting.
Right-of-Way and Easement Acquisition for Olivet Church Road Project
The Mayor and Commissioners approved an ordinance for all the documents necessary for the acquisition of 0.27 acres of right-of-way and 0.21 acres of permanent public utility easement for property located at 5315 Stanley Cemetery Road in the amount of $57,500. McCracken County negotiated the acquisition cost. The City will submit the acquisition costs to the State for reimbursement with all or a portion of the acquisition amount expect to be reimbursed. The right-of-way and easement is necessary for the next phase of the Olivet Church Road Improvement Project. The property address is on Stanley Cemetery Road; however, the right-of-way and easement parallel Olivet Church Road. The City of Paducah, McCracken County, and the State of Kentucky are working together to make major improvements along Olivet Church Road (KY 998). Increased traffic and new developments have created the need for road improvements and access along and near the busy roadway. The existing Olivet Church Road near the intersection with U.S. Highway 60 to James-Sanders Boulevard will be widened to three lanes with improved curbs and gutters. Also, near the intersection of Olivet Church Road and James-Sanders, a proposed new stretch of road will head southeast toward Kentucky Oaks Mall. This new five lane road would tie into the intersection at Hinkleville Road and the existing New Holt Road.
Preservation and Renovation of Market House and River Discovery Center
The Mayor and Commissioners approved a change order with Ray Black & Son, Inc. for the contract to preserve and renovate the Market House and River Discovery Center. The change order adds $3748 to the contract amount and is due to the replacement of gable ends on the Market House facility and the replacement of glass. All of the work will be completed by the end of this month. In December 2012, the Mayor and Commissioners approved a contract in the amount of $215,927 with Ray Black & Son, Inc. for the project to renovate both of the historic city-owned facilities. The work includes the repairing and cleaning of masonry, sealing joints, gutter repairs, repair of wood trim, painting, and the replacement of existing bird control devices.
Community Development Block Grant for CenterPoint Recovery Center (vote in June)
The Mayor and Commissioners introduced an ordinance to accept the $250,000 Community Development Block Grant award on behalf of Four Rivers Behavioral Health for the CenterPoint Recovery Center for Men. The funds would be used for salaries, and a $12,500 administration fee will be paid to the City for maintaining and monitoring the funding. The grant does not require a local match. CenterPoint is a recovery center located on County Park Road for men who are recovering from substance abuse. Four Rivers Chief Operating Officer Patty Hughes says CenterPoint’s staff of 19 employees provided services for 235 men last year. The facility has a high success rate with 75% of the men reporting abstinence from drugs and alcohol one year after completing the program.
After concluding the business part of the meeting, the Mayor and Commissioners in addition to the city manager and directors began a budget workshop. The entire meeting including the business meeting lasted nearly five and a half hours.
City Manager Jeff Pederson started the meeting by going over the draft of the city manager’s budget letter which is the first section of the budget document. The budget ordinance will be introduced at the June 11 Commission meeting. Pederson says, “General Fund revenue has not returned to pre-recession growth levels; however, the City is seeing a small reversal of the negative annual trend revenue for the tax on insurance premiums.” Pederson adds, “The City continues to manage the budget within the ‘New Normal’ wherein annual revenue growth does not keep pace with rising expenses.” Each department prepared their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year using prior year’s allocations; however, that proved to be increasingly challenging due to increasing costs.
Pederson says three full-time positions have been eliminated from the budget through retirement and unfilled vacancies. Personnel costs make up 71.8 percent of the general fund budget. Pederson recommends the City utilize the 4% increase in property tax revenue allowed under State law using a combination of projected valuation increase and a slight increase in the tax levy. The proposed general fund operating expenditures is nearly $31.2 million while the estimated revenue is slightly more than $30.9 million. Cash carry-over from previous years will balance the budget.
To explain the budget preparation process, each director outlined the belt-tightening to balance their budgets. Examples include reducing the length of summer camp programs, eliminating an unfilled position in the Information Technology department, delaying the replacement of a truck for the Fire Department, and reducing advertising costs.
After reviewing the General Fund revenue and expenditures, the group reviewed the five year projection for the Investment Fund. The Investment Fund is funded by the ½ cent payroll tax and dedicated to economic development, community redevelopment, capital/infrastructure improvements, and property tax relief. Some of the line items proposed for the upcoming fiscal year include $250,000 for GPEDC; $50,000 for EntrePaducah; a $90,000 payment for a $1 million bond issue to upgrade the Showroom attached to the Julian Carroll Convention Center; $100,000 for the Convention Center Corporation; $125,000 to be divided among various arts agencies; $50,000 to start a roof stabilization program; $150,000 to begin implementing wayfinding recommendations in the Renaissance Area Master Plan; $150,000 for general facilities maintenance for city-owned buildings; $45,000 as a match to public fundraising for a restroom facility next to the Noble Park tennis courts; $100,000 for engineering and design for City Hall (see additional information below); and $140,000 to stabilize the bank of the Noble Park Lake (see additional information below).
City Hall Structural Analysis: Within the proposed FY2014 Investment Fund budget is a $100,000 line item for City Hall engineering and design. City-Engineer Public Works Director Rick Murphy showed slides of the interior and exterior of City Hall. Murphy says, “Structurally it’s starting to show its age. There’s going to have to be something done to City Hall.” Murphy says the building has a failing roof system. Murphy adds, “Moisture has been getting into the concrete and corroding the rebar. Once the steel in the concrete is gone, concrete loses its tensile strength.” Murphy showed photos of the four eaves of City Hall which at some corners have sagged nine inches. In reviewing the interior, the building needs renovations to make the facility more adequately meet the needs of employees and the public. Murphy provided the Mayor and Commissioners with a cost estimate to restore the structural integrity of the building, upgrade the electrical and mechanical systems, and improve the interior layout. The total estimate is $5.34 million which doesn’t include upgrades to the building’s security. City Hall has approximately 60,000 square feet of space; however, only about 28,000 is being used. The remaining is storage area in the basement and the open atrium area. City Manager Jeff Pederson recommends a spatial needs study to be completed first before a decision is made on the future of City Hall.
Noble Park Bank Stabilization: One of the line items within the proposed FY2014 Investment Fund budget is $140,000 for the stabilization of the southern end of the Noble Park Lake. Parks Services Director Mark Thompson showed several photos of the bank including the subsidence occurring at the fishing pier. City Manager Jeff Pederson says, “If you visit the lake you see the jagged, deteriorated shoreline of a pond that is a focal point of Noble Park.” Thompson says, “With the $140,000 appropriation, we could do a large majority of the bank stabilization and pier work.” Thompson provided cost estimates including $45,000-$120,000 to stabilize 900 linear feet of shoreline with the range in cost depending upon whether the bank was stabilized with a vinyl seawall or riprap or a combination. The vinyl seawall is more expensive but is more durable and requires less maintenance. The cost to repair the piers and access areas would be $25,000-$35,000 with the cost to rehabilitate Duck Island an additional $25,000-$35,000. Thompson recommends initiating a public fundraising campaign to recover the costs to rehabilitate Duck Island. Currently, the Duck Island house is in storage.