Note: Mayor Pro Tem Sandra Wilson was unable to attend this meeting.
Property Tax Levy – Lower for Fiscal Year 2024
The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance setting the real estate and personal property tax rates for fiscal year 2024. The City’s real estate tax levy is set to be 25.6 cents per $100 assessed value, slightly LOWER than last year’s rate of 26.5 cents. The City’s Compensating Rate, the rate that would keep the revenue at the same amount as last year, is 24.7 cents per $100 assessed value. Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) permits a city to adjust the rate upward no more than 4 percent of the compensating rate. Since the City’s proposed tax levy of 25.6 cents is higher than the compensating rate, a public hearing was required and held at the previous City Commission meeting.
Police Department Update
Police Chief Brian Laird provided an update on several police department initiatives.
- Mobile Camera Units – At the end of 2022, the Police Department partnered with LiveView Technologies for the placement of 32 camera systems outside commercial locations. This was a pilot project called the Alliance of Companies and Communities to Enhance Safety and Security (ACCESS) Taskforce. In addition to Paducah, Opelika, Alabama, also received these camera systems. The program’s goal was to improve community safety and reduce organized retail thefts. Each mobile camera unit costs approximately $50,000. The findings from November 2022 through May 2023 included a 13 percent reduction in crime city-wide in Paducah and a positive response from the citizen survey. The feedback from the businesses that participated included positive responses from the employees who appreciated the additional security in their parking lots.
- Traffic Enforcement – Over the past year, traffic collisions are down by 5 percent. Looking at a four-year average for enforcement, there has been a 30 percent increase in the number of warnings and a 28 percent increase in the number of traffic citations.
- Neighborhood Meetings – One of the department’s 2023 goals is to facilitate neighborhood meetings with the primary focus to listen to neighborhood issues and concerns. So far, the Department has held 25 meetings reaching 37 Paducah neighborhoods with more to be scheduled. The most frequently mentioned topics at these meetings include speeding, theft from unlocked vehicles, fireworks, lighting, garbage on private properties and alleys, stormwater and drainage, drug activity, and vagrants/panhandling.
- Action Items – The Police Department is sharing the findings from the neighborhood meetings and other engagement activities with City departments. Plus, there is a department-wide emphasis on traffic enforcement. A two-officer team has been created to address neighborhood traffic concerns.
Quality of Life Campaign
Communications Manager Pam Spencer and Director of Planning Nic Hutchison outlined a proposed public relations and awareness campaign focusing on several quality of life topics. This campaign addresses three of the priorities determined by the Paducah Board of Commissioners including Quality of Life, Neighborhoods, and Downtown. It’s also in response to recent complaints based on excessive vehicular noise. In researching other communities/organizations that have worked to address noise or similar quality of life elements, Spencer found that the public relations initiative focused on awareness and encouraging being kind and considerate. For Paducah, Spencer proposed a campaign named Consistent and Kind Paducah with news releases and social media posts to bring awareness to various city ordinances and to encourage ways to be build a community that is considerate of each other.
Opioid Settlement Funds
City Clerk and Director of Customer Experience Lindsay Parish provided an overview of the funding the City of Paducah has received from the settlement agreements regarding the sale, distribution, and marketing of opioid drugs. So far from the Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Distributors Settlements, the City has received approximately $576,000. From 2024 through 2038, nearly $2 million additional funds from these settlements are projected for Paducah. Furthermore, the City expects to begin receiving funds from five additional settlements: Teva, Allergan, Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS.
Cities receiving these settlement funds are under no obligation to use the funds immediately. Furthermore, there are specific restrictions in how the funds can be used (KRS 15.291). Parish explained that eligible uses fall into two main categories: prevention and treatment/recovery.
Mayor George Bray introduced to the Board the concept of using a portion of the funding for First Responder Deflection initiatives. These deflection initiatives typically are led by law enforcement or fire/EMS. The deflection team works to refer individuals to treatment and services – many times in lieu of arrest or charges – with the requirement of the completion of treatment.
Regarding next steps, Mayor Bray would like to identify and gather community partners to begin a discussion on the best way to use the funds and to understand the breadth of the opioid problem in Paducah. Mayor Bray also would like to discuss with McCracken County a potential partnership to collaborate on the distribution of the funds.
Organizations interested in participating in a stakeholder meeting to discuss the opioid situation in Paducah and strategies for using the funding are asked to reach out to Lindsay Parish at lparishpaducahky.gov or 270-444-8506.
Robert Cherry Civic Center Update
The Board took two actions related to the Robert Cherry Civic Center renovation project. The Board authorized a contract modification with Midstates Construction increasing the contract by a little more than $7000 due to several small elements including HVAC screen modifications and window trim transitions. The Board also approved a municipal order authorizing the City Manager to issue a request for proposals for the reconstruction of the parking lot. The building renovation project is expected to be completed by the end of December. This renovation project repairs the facility following a traffic crash in 2022 that caused a vehicle to significantly damage the building, rehabilitates the community center area, and provides office space for the relocation of the Parks & Recreation Department’s administrative employees. The Civic Center also will serve as an emergency operations center when needed.
Employment Contracts for Firefighters
Fire Chief Steve Kyle discussed with the Board the plan to a require firefighters to sign employment contracts. A firefighter recruit undergoes extensive training at the State Fire Academy that costs the City approximately $7000 per firefighter. With this employment contract, if a firefighter decided to no longer work for the Paducah Fire Department within the first five years of employment, the firefighter would be required to pay back to the City a prorated amount for the training. A similar employment contract is in place for incoming police officers.
Additional Meeting Information
- Municipal Order approved for the declaration and sale of the city-owned surplus property located at 1724 North 12th Street. Paducah McCracken County Habitat for Humanity plans to construct a single-family home on the property.
- Municipal Order approved for a Fleet Maintenance Service Agreement between Paducah’s Fleet Division and the East Marshall Fire Department. Fleet will provide maintenance services to East Marshall’s vehicles at hourly rates.
- Municipal Order approved authorizing an agreement with DWA Recreation for the purchase and installation of a rubber playground surface for the Robert Coleman Park playground project.
- Municipal Order approved to apply for the 2023 USTA Southern Parks and Recreation Grant requesting $1000 which, if awarded, would be used to conduct a Glow Tennis event.
- Municipal Order approved to renew the contract with Axon Enterprises, Inc. for police body-worn and in-car cameras.
- Municipal Order approved to amend the contract with Rightway Janitorial to provide an additional daily cleaning service for the downtown restroom facility.
- Municipal Order approved renewing the employment agreement with City Manager Daron Jordan with an extension of the contract to July 31, 2026.
- Ordinance approved amending the budget related to the payoff of the 2013B general obligation bond due to the sale of the former Teletech building at Commerce Park.
- Ordinance introduced for a contract modification with BFW Engineering & Testing for the Buckner Lane Bridge Replacement Project. This is a contract reduction by $8120 for a FEMA flood report line item which was not needed for the project.