Mayor Bray Recognizes Chef Sara Bradley
Mayor George Bray presented Chef Sara Bradley with the Mayor’s Award of Excellence. The award states, “in honor of your international achievements in culinary excellence and your positive impact on our community.” Bradley is chef and proprietor of Freight House in downtown Paducah. Bradley gained international fame with appearances on Bravo’s Top Chef series.
Paducah Preservation Opportunities Assessment
In October 2022, the City of Paducah signed a contract with Rhodes Heritage Group to develop recommendations for preserving and stewarding several historic and cultural assets in Paducah, a priority for the Paducah Board of Commissioners. These iconic assets include the Hotel Metropolitan, Stuart Nelson Park and the legacy of Dr. Stuart Nelson, Columbia Theatre, Oscar Cross’ home, and Southside Neighborhoods. After multiple meetings with stakeholders and on-site visits, Monica Rhodes, Rhodes Heritage Group founder and president, along with Paducah native, Brent Leggs, presented an overview at this meeting of the Preservation Opportunities Assessment report which provides preservation recommendations for each historic site or area. Rhodes called Paducah a “trailblazer” for the desire to preserve and be stewards of its local cultural legacy.
Solid Waste Collection Rates Discussion
Director of Public Works Chris Yarber provided an overview of the Public Works Department’s Solid Waste Division, which is staffed by 25 employees. This division manages the collection of refuse and curbside recycling. In 2022, more than 10,700 tons of residential garbage were collected along with nearly 126 tons of recyclables. Since the City of Paducah launched the curbside recycling initiative in 2018, the number of customers has not grown as much as expected – 753 customers in the initial year to the current 1329 customers.
Yarber showed the history of the increasing cost per ton to dispose of solid waste. The City paid $34.95 per ton in fiscal year 2016 to dispose of garbage. Currently, the City pays $50.40 per ton to dispose of solid waste, and it costs even more to dispose of recyclables with the City paying $57.71 per ton.
With the increase in the disposal fees for solid waste and recycling along with increasing personnel costs, the Solid Waste Division’s revenue and expenses are not balancing with the current year expected to have a $1.2 million shortfall that must be balanced from reserve funds.
Yarber then discussed the history of the solid waste collection fees. For a residential customer with one garbage container, the monthly fee is $16.50. That fee has been in place since June 2008 when it was increased from $15.35. Since it has been more than 15 years since fees increased and to balance the budget, Yarber proposed bringing Paducah’s fee in line with other Kentucky communities. Yarber proposed increasing Paducah’s residential fee from $16.50 per month to approximately $24.50 per month which could be a phased implementation. There would be an increase in fees for commercial customers as well.
The next steps are to gather feedback from each Commissioner and develop a proposed rate implementation plan to present at the next regular Commission meeting.
Paducah-McCracken County Convention and Expo Center Projects
City Manager Daron Jordan and Mayor George Bray discussed recent dialogue with McCracken County regarding repairs to the Paducah-McCracken County Convention and Expo Centers. The roof repair project has been launched, and the City and County are reviewing a list of facility needs with heating and air conditioning as a high priority. Mayor Bray said the proceeds from the transient room tax collected by the County will be able to fund a bond to address many of the maintenance needs. The County has asked if the City would partner to fund, if needed, overages not covered by the transient room tax. Mayor Bray said it was a reasonable ask. County Commissioner Bill Bartleman attended the meeting and said the Convention Center Corporation is meeting next week to begin prioritizing the facility projects. Plus, there needs to be a discussion around the dome and increasing indoor sports tourism.
Safe Haven Baby Box Project
At the previous meeting, the Paducah Board of Commissioners approved an agreement with Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Inc. for the installation of a safe haven box at one of Paducah’s fire stations. Since that meeting, Paducah Fire Chief Steve Kyle has reviewed the City’s five fire stations and determined that Station #5 located at 1714 Broadway would be the best location for the Safe Haven Baby Box. The box would be placed on the east side of the building. Kentucky law allows for a parent to anonymously leave a newborn infant with an emergency medical service provider, police officer, or firefighter. A Safe Haven Box is an enclosed, temperature-controlled area that will be installed along the fire station’s outer wall. Once a baby is placed inside, an alert system will notify emergency services of the newborn so that the baby can be safely retrieved. At the previous meeting, the Board approved an agreement with Hope Unlimited which requested the Safe Haven Box for Paducah-McCracken County. Private donations through Hope Unlimited are helping to cover the City’s cost for the expenses related to the Safe Haven Box lease, installation, and annual service fee.
Professional Services Agreement to Assist Engineering Department
The Board approved a professional services contract with Bacon, Farmer & Workman Engineering and Testing (BFW) to assist Paducah’s Engineering Department through an upcoming transition. City Engineer Rick Murphy is retiring at the end of the year. Until a new City Engineer is in place, BFW will assist with projects on an hourly basis.
Traffic Signal Proposal from Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
Mayor Bray announced that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has proposed to convert five of the City’s traffic signals to all-way stops. The signals are at 9th and Broadway, 13th and Broadway, 21st and Broadway, 9th and Jefferson, and 6th and Jefferson. These intersections do not have enough traffic flow to warrant signals. Converting to an all-way stop involves a transition of changing the signals to all-way red flashing for a period of time before the removal of the signals and installation of stop signs.
Additional Meeting Information
- Mayor Bray presented a proclamation to Heather Anderson, who serves as the McKinney-Vento Liaison for Paducah Public Schools, proclaiming November as Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month.
- Municipal Order approved for a contract amendment with Tyler Technologies. This amendment upgrades the software modules that the City will be using.
- Municipal Order approved to apply for a 2023 Kentucky League of Cities Liability Grant requesting $3000.
- Municipal Order approved authorizing the GameTime Playground grant in the amount of $37,584.50 and authorizing the purchase of inclusive and accessible playground equipment for Keiler Park located at 2900 Broadway.
- Municipal Order approved for a contract amendment with Midstates Construction, the contractor renovating the Robert Cherry Civic Center. This amendment is for the removal and replacement of a gas line.
- Municipal Order approved for a contract for services between the City and Sprocket with the City providing $75,000 for the local innovation hub for small business development and job creation programs.
- Ordinance approved for the final plat of subdivision and surety for the Trails End Subdivision located at 125 Ridgeview Street. This action also accepts the dedication of right of way of Ridgeview Street, Joey Way, and Petter Avenue.
- City Manager Jordan reminded everyone that this Saturday is First Responder Recognition Day.