The Paducah Board of Commissioners heard presentations requesting the City of Paducah to expand its current smoke-free ordinance. Paducah’s current ordinance, which was adopted in 2006, prohibits the smoking of tobacco products in buildings open to the public. At this meeting, Dr. Pat Withrow, Baptist Health CEO Chris Roty, Lourdes CEO Michael Yungman, and Purchase District Health Department Health Education Coordinator Kaylene Cornell addressed the Board requesting that the City of Paducah’s smoking ban be expanded to prohibit electronic smoking devices and tobacco smoking in all places of employment, playgrounds, city parks, and city-owned recreational areas. They quoted study results that recently were published in the medical journal Cancer. The study examined two decades of lung cancer data in Kentucky and concluded that comprehensive smoke-free policies are associated with fewer new cases of lung cancer as compared to weak or moderate smoke-free policies. Paducah current smoking ban ordinance is not considered to be comprehensive; it is considered to be moderate. Dr. Withrow says, “The only way to have evidence-based health benefits is for Paducah to have a strong smoke-free ordinance.” Information about the study can be found at http://www.uky.edu/breathe/about-us/news/dr-ellen-hahn-strong-smoking-ba... Mayor Brandi Harless says amendments to Paducah’s current ordinance will be presented at the January 9 Commission meeting.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance for a three year contract between the City and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) AFL-CIO Local 1586. The three year contract will be in effect starting July 1. Negotiations were held this month with the AFSCME membership voting to ratify the contract on December 15. City employees who are members of the AFSCME union work in the Engineering-Public Works and Parks & Recreation Departments.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved a municipal order authorizing the City to submit an application for a loan through the Kentucky Energy & Environment Cabinet and Kentucky Infrastructure Authority to obtain a Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) loan. The loan request is for $3.713 million which will be used toward the Floodwall Pump Station #2 project. The loan would have an interest rate of 0.75% with a 20-year term. This project, including engineering and construction costs, is expected to cost approximately $5.1 million. The City already has $1.4 million in grant funds for the project which includes a $1 million Community Development Block Grant and $400,000 from Delta Regional Authority.
Floodwall Pump Station #2 located at 1416 North 6th Street is in critical need of rehabilitation. The rehabilitation would include replacement of discharge pipes, the rehabilitation of various mechanical components of all seven pumps and motors not previously repaired, and the replacement of the sluice gate. Pump Station #2 has the largest pumping capacity of 313,000 gallons per minute. Since it’s the first station to be activated at a local river stage of 27.5 feet, it receives the most wear-and-tear.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners heard from several citizens who had questions regarding the ordinance to repeal and replace Chapter 58 in the Paducah Code of Ordinances which outlines the Paducah Human Rights Commission. The ordinance was introduced at the December 12 meeting. The Board decided to withdraw the second reading on the ordinance until the January 9 meeting in order to provide additional language regarding religious beliefs.
Some of the aspects of the new ordinance include the additions of age, gender identity and sexual orientation to the list of unlawful discriminatory practices that are safeguarded in the ordinance. An additional change is the reduction in the size of the Board from nine to five members with no provision for an executive director.
The changes also describe how complaints are to be handled based on the type of complaint. Complaints made to the Paducah Human Rights Commission regarding race, color, religion, sex, age, familial status, handicap, or national origin would be filed with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. Complaints associated with a grievance or unlawful practice relating to gender identity or sexual orientation will be filed with the Paducah Human Rights Commission with notification to the City Manager’s office. Since the State office does not handle complaints related to gender identity or sexual orientation, the Paducah Human Rights Commission would investigation those complaints with legal assistance as necessary. The Paducah Human Rights Commission was established in 1968 and maintains an office on the first floor of City Hall.
Mayor Brandi Harless has been working with the Human Resources Department in the solicitation of proposals from recruiting firms to conduct a national search for the next City Manager. Mayor Harless says three companies will be making presentations at the January 9 Commission meeting. Jeff Pederson is resigning as Paducah’s City Manager. He is staying through January 12 to assist with the transition period.