Continuous Improvement - 911

Objective - 911 Radio/Tower Upgrades and Operational Funding

911 graphicClearly established partnership agreement with McCracken County to create a sustainable revenue source, establish governance, and make necessary capital infrastructure improvements. 

Note: This was also a 2021 and 2022 City Commission Priority.

Key points:

  • 911 Center currently is a division of the Paducah Police Department. It has 23 full-time employees.
  • The radio system which includes handheld radios, the radio infrastructure at the Center, and towers is at its end-of-life and needs upgrading. This is the most expensive component with an estimated cost of $8 to 12 million. 
  • The radio system is for dispatchers to talk to first responders and for first responders to talk to each other and dispatch.  Currently, there are dead spots in the City and County where communication is not possible.
  • Upgrades have been COMPLETED to the telephony, the computer-aided-dispatching (CAD) system, and the records management system.
  • It costs approximately $2.74 million (Fiscal Year 2024 budget) to operate the Center. Land-line fees used to cover the majority of the cost. However, the declining land-line fees and cell fees do not cover the operational costs which lead the City and County to provide operational funds.

Key Departments

City Clerk/Customer Experience Department 
Fire Department
Police Department

911 Continuous Improvement Details

Expectations and Tactics

Support the joint 911 Communication Oversight Committee in its efforts to recommend a governance structure, capital improvements, and a sustainable revenue source for both capital and operations. 

Accomplishments and Updates - 2021 to present

Collaborative Meetings 

  • 2021 - Held an initial working group meeting in March 2021 with representatives from the City, McCracken County, and McCracken County Sheriff’s Office.  Working group is reviewing the current 911 services agreement. 
  • 2021 - During a June 24, 2021, joint meeting between the Paducah Board of Commissioners and McCracken County Fiscal Court, the boards approved a motion to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to split the capital costs of the 911 system, establish a new working committee with elected officials, and form a plan to offset declining revenues.  
  • 2021 - At the August 10, 2021, City Commission Meeting, the Board approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and County for a partnership to upgrade the 911 system.  The City and County agree to establish a joint oversight committee to make formal recommendations regarding the needed system upgrades, funding options, and governing structure with a completion date by February 1, 2022, to identify the funding method.  The City and County also agree to be equal partners in the capital expenditures to upgrade the equipment. 
  • 2022 - In July 2022, the City and County reiterated the importance of the partnership and the sense of urgency for the 911 upgrade with a goal of completing an agreement by the end of 2022 focusing on governance and revenue.
  • 2023 - Mayor George Bray, City Manager Daron Jordan, and McCracken County Judge Executive Craig Clymer have discussed how to fund 911. They have discussed a parcel fee option with Kenton County, Kentucky, representatives which have had a parcel fee to fund their 911 operations for about 10 years. A parcel fee would be assessed on property tax bills. 
  • 2023 - On December 11, the City and County held a joint meeting to discuss the contract for the 911 Radio Project with the County approving the more than $10 million contract with Communications International. The City approved the contract at its December 12 meeting. 

Next steps for this project include determining the governing structure for the 911 system, which is currently owned by the City and managed under the Paducah Police Department. Plus, the City and County will be working to determine a structure to fund the 911 costs. There have been discussions on levying a water meter fee or a parcel fee.

Project Infrastructure Report and Request for Proposals for Radio and Tower Project

  • 2021-2022 - Prior to issuing a request for proposals in 2022, project consultant, Federal Engineering, updated the cost estimates for the 911 capital needs and infrastructure costs. Federal Engineering also reviewed a proposal from Motorola/Kentucky State Police.
  • 2022 - At its May 10, 2022, meeting the Paducah Board of Commissioners approved a municipal order authorizing a contract amendment with Federal Engineering to move forward with a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the procurement of a six-tower 911 radio system as recommended by the 911 Communication Oversight Committee. With this amendment, Federal Engineering will prepare the RFP, review the proposals, and conduct contract negotiations. The City and McCracken County are partnering in this endeavor with the County reimbursing the City for half of the cost of this contract amendment.  
  • 2022 -2023 - The 130-plus page request for proposals document was placed out to bid on December 2, 2022. The bid opening was March 2, 2023, with two bids received. 
  • 2023 - In July 2023, the City and County each authorized an Intent to Award Letter to Communications International for the Paducah/McCracken County Public Safety Radio Communication System Project. An eight-member City and County team evaluated the proposals with the unanimous determination to move forward with Communications International. After a legal review and input from project consultant, Federal Engineering, the next step will be to finalize a master agreement for the project which will be brought back to each Board for approval.
  • 2023 - On December 12, 2023, the Board approved an agreement with Communications International for the 911 radio system. During a joint City-County meeting held December 11, both governmental bodies discussed the project and the McCracken County Fiscal Court approved the agreement. This $10,013,436.64 agreement will upgrade the Paducah-McCracken County 911 radio system which includes equipment for five radio towers, consoles for the 911 Communications Center with backup consoles at the McCracken County Emergency Operations Center, and portable radio units for first responders. Out of that $10 million total, the system infrastructure upgrades equal more than $7.67 million which will be split equally between the City and County as outlined in a 2021 agreement. The remaining costs are the portable radio units for City and County agencies. The project schedule will be finalized at upcoming design review meetings, but the preliminary schedule estimates completion in March 2025. The Board also amended the agreement with 911 project consultant, Federal Engineering, for professional consulting work for the implementation, testing, and final cutover of the 911 radio system upgrade.

Parcel Fee or Water Meter Fee  In 2023, the City and County have been reviewing the process of implementing a parcel fee, a fee assessed on property tax bills to fund a portion of the 911 operations and capital improvement project. The earliest a fee could be implemented would be 2024. The City and County have talked with Kenton County and other Kentucky counties with parcel fees. Implementing a water meter fee also is an option; however, more than 1000 households in McCracken County are served by water wells.

Grant Funding  Paducah Police Department received a $314,450 Kentucky Homeland Security grant for radio equipment upgrades which will reduce the overall project cost.

911 Communication Oversight Committee  In November 2021, the Paducah Board of Commissioners approved the appointment of Commissioner Carol Gault and Kevin Kauffeld and the joint appointment of Jewel Jones to the 911 Communication Oversight Committee. McCracken County appointed Eddie Jones and Dr. Irvin Smith. This five-member committee reviewed the 911 project and the draft report from Federal Engineering to determine project funding needs, a funding mechanism, and timeline. At its January 24, 2023, meeting, the Paducah Board of Commissioners approved disbanding the Committee and thanked this committee for its dedication to the project. This committee met 18 times during 2022 and completed its goals. Additional information and significant actions by the committee are below.

911 Communication Oversight Committee

Pictured:  Mayor George Bray (4th from left) welcomes 911 Communication Oversight Committee at its first meeting on January 10, 2022.

first meetingCommittee Members  County Commissioner Eddie Jones, Kevin Kauffeld (Chairman), Dr. Irvin Smith (Vice Chairman), City Commissioner Carol Gault, and Jewel Jones 

Meetings  The Committee met 18 times during 2022 typically on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall. 

911 Communication Oversight Committee Minutes

Significant Actions  

  • March 14, 2022 - Committee approved a motion to recommend to the City and County to proceed with Request for Proposals for a six-tower 911 system. Committee also approved a motion recommending that special district fire departments be included in the capital expenditures. (In May, the City and County both approved moving forward with the RFP process with Federal Engineering.)
  • April 25, 2022 - Committee approved a motion for County Commissioner Eddie Jones and City Commissioner Carol Gault to request from the City and County governments funds to split the costs of paying Federal Engineering to prepare and evaluate an RFP for the project in addition to final contract negotiations.
  • October 24, 2022 - Committee approved a motion that once the final materials are received from Federal Engineering regarding the RFP, the City and County should collaborate to move forward with its release.
  • October 24, 2022 - Committee approved a motion to recommend a hybrid governance structure for 911 to the City and County.  A hybrid model would be structured similar to the current Joint Sewer Agency as established by the City and County but would not have the authority to raise its own funds.  It would have a joint board, the official policy-making and governing authority.
  • November 14, 2022 - Committee approved a motion for Commissioner Eddie Jones to create and distribute a letter outlining his idea for $2 utility charges across electric, landline, cell phone, and water meters. The letter would include his proposal for a City/County annexation agreement.
  • November 28, 2022 - Committee approved a motion to recommend using water meters as the source for implementing a fee.
  • November 28, 2022 - Committee approved a motion to suspend regular meetings and resume on an as-needed basis.
  • January 24, 2023 - Paducah Board of Commissioners approved disbanding the committee and thanked members for completing their goals.

Commission Priorities

Read all Commission Priorities and Continuous Improvement Items including each action item's objective, key departments, and expectations by visiting Commission Priorities.