Lindsey Cunningham, Purchase District Health Department epidemiologist, provided an update on COVID-19, a novel coronavirus. Cunningham says in Kentucky, eight people have tested positive for the virus with no positive reports in our region. Citizens can find the latest information about COVID-19 in Kentucky by visiting the Kentucky Department of Public Health’s website at https://govstatus.egov.com/kycovid19. Kentucky has set up a hotline for concerned citizens at 1-800-722-5725. For more information, visit the CDC’s webpage dedicated to COVID-19 at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
Project Manager Mohammad Nouri with Concepts21 presented to the Paducah Board of Commissioners the findings from the downtown parking study that was initiated in 2019. The study included an open-house public information event on February 13 which over a four-hour period, citizens were able to provide their input. The study analyzed the current parking supply in a 12-block area with a focus around the block at Broadway and 2nd Street, the city-owned lot. The assessment considers how parking will be impacted by the proposed City Block re-development project in addition to identifying present parking needs and providing parking recommendations. Visit http://paducahky.gov/downtown-redevelopment to read the entire parking study.
The City Block development, which is being developed by a private developer, is proposed for the city-owned lot and would include a 4 ½ story hotel on Jefferson and a 3-story mixed-used residential and commercial complex along Broadway. Between the two developments would be the town square and public parking with 172 parking spaces. The parking supply within a one block area of the development (including the 172 spaces as part of the development) is 560 spaces. Nouri says no immediate action is required to accommodate the parking for this project, “There is room for this growth in downtown.”
In the 12-block area, the study identified 608 off-street public parking spaces, 541 off-street parking space with neighbor agreements, and 563 on-street or curbside parking spaces for a total of 1712 spaces. An occupancy study was performed to determine parking usage during weekdays and weekends in November and December which reflect typical daily usage in addition to special event usage (the Small Business Saturday Shopping Event). Regarding the public parking lot spaces (608 total), the average utilization rate on a normal weekend or weekday is approximately 22 percent.
A large portion of the study focused on improvement strategies to better manage the existing parking supply in downtown and plan for future growth. Recommendations include the following:
The Paducah Board of Commissioners introduced two ordinances related to the Buckner Lane Bridge Project, a project listed in the Stormwater Master Plan. The first ordinance is for a budget amendment in the amount of $80,000. This amendment transfers funds into the project account. The second ordinance introduced is for a professional services contract with BFW Engineering & Testing, Inc. in the amount of $154,036 for engineering design services for project.
This bridge on Buckner Lane over Crooked Creek is located near the intersection with Buckner Lake Circle. It has been affected by flooding and severe weather events in 2018 and 2019. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has reviewed the bridge and rates it in poor condition with two wooden piles under the bridge experiencing 75 percent deterioration. The project will improve the roadway design in that location in addition to the replacement of the bridge.
Regarding funding, the City applied for Disaster Relief Funding from FEMA for the bridge project after flooding and severe weather events. FEMA has obligated nearly $330,000 for the project with the State providing nearly $53,000. The remaining engineering and construction costs will be handled by the City of Paducah.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance for a contract with Adams Contracting, LLC in the amount of $274,121 for the Bob Leeper Pedestrian Bridge project. This pedestrian bridge over Perkins Creek just northwest of the Stuart Nelson ball fields will tie the City of Paducah Greenway Trail to the McCracken County Trail System. This bridge will be approximately 110 feet long and 10 feet wide and will follow an abandoned rail bed of the Chicago, St. Louis, and New Orleans Railroad Company. The project will be funded by a $100,000 Recreation Trails Grant through the Federal Highway Administration, $80,000 from the City, $30,000 from McCracken County, $30,000 from Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership, $5000 from Veolia North America, and $5000 from Geosyntec Consultants. Once the contractor receives the Notice to Proceed, this is a 180-calendar day project.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance for a professional services contract in the amount of $52,204 with BFW Engineering & Testing for the Floodwall Seal Closure Project. BFW will prepared the bid plans for the permanent closure or alteration of 13 floodwall openings. These are floodwall openings that are no longer used or needed.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved a resolution in support of House Bill 484 that will reorganize the Kentucky Retirement Systems and create an independent County Employees Retirement System (CERS) Board of Trustees. Commissioner Richard Abraham abstained from the vote and wanted more information on the impact of House Bill 484.
The City of Paducah has employees vested in CERS. House Bill 484 is supported by the Kentucky League of Cities. The bill creates a nine-member CERS Board of Trustees whose sole responsibility is the management of the CERS. Currently CERS is part of the Kentucky Retirement Systems and is earning investment income below amounts earned by peer groups. A strong investment income is a vital component of improving the pension system’s funding level. A CERS Board of Trustees solely focused on investment decisions, actuarial data and asset allocations of CERS would ensure decisions made for the system are in its best interest. Currently, the assets of the CERS are about $13.5 billion which total about 76 percent of the pension assets controlled by the Kentucky Retirement Systems. However, the current 17-member Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees has only six seats for CERS representatives.
Finance Director Jonathan Perkins and David Hampton of Kemper CPA Group, LLP provided an overview of the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) which includes the City audit. The audit is required by State law; however, the CAFR is a voluntary document that the City prepares to provide additional information and transparency to the public. The report is for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019. Paducah is one of the few cities in Kentucky that prepares a CAFR. For 28 consecutive years, Paducah has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The entire CAFR report and previous audits dating back to 2001 can be found on the City’s website, www.paducahky.gov.
Assistant City Manager Michelle Smolen provided an overview of the Our Paducah Strategic Plan document that incorporates updates from the Board. At the January 25 meeting of the Paducah Board of Commissioners, the Board reviewed the initiatives listed in the plan and prioritized items. Smolen says the final document will be brought before the Board for approval at the March 24 meeting.