City Commission Meeting Highlights, May 7, 2013

Note:  Commissioner Richard Abraham was unable to attend this meeting.

Fire Department Cost Recovery Proposal

Paducah Fire Chief Steve Kyle presented the Commission with a proposal to recover the costs that the Fire Department spends when it responds to the following specific incidents:  vehicle fires, motor vehicle collisions with extrication, and unpermitted burning events.  This user-fee would include city and non-city residents.  Chief Kyle estimates that the City could recover approximately $20,000 per year.  Chief Kyle says, “It’s an increasing trend around the country for fire departments to recover some of the costs for the services provided.”  The process would involve a vendor service that would pass along the user-fee to insurance companies involved in the vehicle fires or extrication incidents and to the property owner in the unpermitted burning events.  Chief Kyle adds that the Concord and Reidland-Farley Fire Departments charge the insurance companies of residents when they respond to particular incidents.   City Manager Jeff Pederson says, “This is the instance of a director looking at revenue opportunities to bring money into the tight budget.”  The Mayor and Commissioners asked Chief Kyle to draft an ordinance and to provide information from other cities that are involved in cost recovery for their fire departments. 

Roof Stabilization Assistance Program

Main Street/Paducah Renaissance Alliance (PRA) Executive Director Lisa Thompson briefed the Mayor and Commissioners on a draft ordinance creating the Roof Stabilization Assistance Program.   The program’s purpose is to address the large number of buildings in the Renaissance District that have deteriorating roofs.  The main goal is to save the buildings.  Thompson says, “One of the things you want to do first and foremost in any home or building is to keep the water out.”  PRA looked at Rocky Mount, North Carolina’s roof stabilization program as an initial guideline.  By providing incentives or assistance to property owners to repair their roofs to a standard that would lead to a ten year warranty, the City will help limit the further deterioration of the buildings.  In order to be considered deficient, the building or unit must need a minimum of $50,000 worth of improvements.  In the draft ordinance, the City would reimburse 1/3 of the total cost of the roof repair not to exceed $50,000 but at a minimum of $16,666.  Thompson says, “The goal is to target these large properties where the property owner is having a hard time putting together the funds.”  Funding for the program would initially come from the leftover façade loan funds currently held by Columbia Club, Inc.  The Mayor and Commissioners had questions including the application criteria and process, the type of loan (forgivable or revolving), and the future use of the structure.  Thompson will address these questions and concerns and provide an updated draft of the ordinance.