Principal-In-Charge/Senior Planning Advisor John Lyons with Strand Associates provided an update to the Paducah Board of Commissioners on the work completed in partnership with the City of Paducah and BFW Engineering & Testing on the second phase of the Comprehensive Stormwater Master Plan.
The Plan’s second phase addresses the creation of a Stormwater Utility with an associated Stormwater Impact Fee. The proposed fee is a revenue stream that would be used to fund items such as capital improvement drainage projects, operations and maintenance of the existing infrastructure, the City’s flood protection system (floodwall), regulatory compliance requirements, infrastructure repair and replacement, and the administration of the program through staffing and equipment.
Lyons explained that a stormwater utility most often uses an Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) as a funding mechanism. The ERU is based on the impervious surface on a parcel such as rooftops, driveways, and patios. Strand sampled 50 residential parcels in Paducah to determine an average amount of impervious area. The average is 3500 square feet per residential parcel which would equal one ERU. It would be proposed for each residential parcel to pay the same amount per month, one ERU. Lyons proposes that the monthly cost per ERU to be $6.13. The proposed fee could generate $2.7 million annually which would be dedicated to stormwater programs, projects, administration, and maintenance. Please note that this is a recommended rate. The Paducah Board of Commissioners has not approved this rate and would like to have additional information about how the rate would impact various businesses, schools, and other entities.
Non-residential parcels such as commercial entities would pay a monthly fee equal to the total amount of impervious area on the property divided by 3500 and then multiplied by the proposed monthly rate. The City also could look into developing a credit policy for non-residential property owners that exceeded local stormwater detention and water quality requirements. Strand will be providing the City with the calculated impervious area for each non-residential parcel in Paducah. Stay tuned for details on how individual businesses or non-residential entities will be able to get information regarding the amount of impervious area on their property in order to make total fee calculations.
There are approximately 1500 stormwater utilities in the United States with about a dozen of them in Kentucky. In Kentucky, the fees for residential parcels range from $1.50 per month in Murray to $9.90 per month in Louisville. The national average is $5.34 per month.
Paducah’s proposed Stormwater Impact Fee includes covering the costs associated with the floodwall which currently are funded through the City’s General Fund. If the floodwall costs remained in the General Fund and were not included as part of the Stormwater Utility, the proposed monthly fee for residential parcels (1 ERU) would be $4.44.
As a reminder, the first phase of the Comprehensive Stormwater Master Plan has been completed. The first phase used the July 7, 2015, storm event to create a model of Paducah’s natural and manmade infrastructure including storm and combined sewer systems, topography, drainage basins, and river systems. This computer model along with community input was used to determine flood-prone areas in Paducah. The first phase identified more than $43 million in flood mitigation projects located within ten priority areas. If the drainage projects outlined in the ten project areas were completed, 245 homes in the City would not be flooded with an additional 289 structures seeing a reduction in flooding.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved a municipal order to update the City of Paducah Strategic Plan Action Steps and the Vision Statement. The Board and City Manager’s Office participated in a retreat earlier this year on January 5 to review the Plan’s elements. The Board decided to revise the Vision Statement to add the phrase healthy lifestyle. The updated Vision Statement is as follows: Paducah is a city where people strive to reach their full potential through lifelong learning, healthy lifestyle, creativity, culture and compassion for one another.
The Board also updated the Key Performance Indicators and the Action Items under each Indicator and their priority levels. In the plan, the highest priorities are known as WIN (What's Important Now) initiatives. The key team member assigned to each WIN will be responsible for providing monthly updates. Updates for the other strategic plan initiatives will be reported twice a year.
In a separate action, the Board introduced an ordinance for a contract with Innovations Branding House (vote February 26) for community engagement initiatives regarding the Strategic Plan including print materials, social media content, a website, and videos. After the initial launch of Our Paducah, Innovations Branding House will lead quarterly campaigns related to specific plan elements. The cost of the initial launch is $20,000 for the current fiscal year with a cost of $36,000 during the next fiscal year for the quarterly campaigns.