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City Discusses Storm Water Fee, Public Mtg. Tonite
By West Kentucky Star Staff
PADUCAH - A fee - not a tax - is likely in the future for some property owners in the City of Paducah to help pay for the city's storm water master plan projects. But, there was concern among some commissioners at Tuesday night's Paducah City Commission meeting on how to educate the public about the fee and communicate what services will be provided.

Note: A public meeting on this issue is scheduled for 5 pm Wednesday at City Hall. A presentation about the proposed storm water utility and associated fee structure will begin at 5:30 pm, with time after the presentation for discussions with the project team members. A city official said the meeting is not likely to be moved or canceled due to the weather, but it will be streamed live at the link provided below.

For the last 18 months Strand & Associates have been working with the city regarding the storm water and flooding problems and 10 key areas have been identified.  John Lyons, with Strand & Associates, joined by  colleagues and member of the Storm Water Advisory Committee and the Storm Water Utilities Committee members, spoke to the commissioners emphasizing the fee - if and when the commissioners adopt it - is not a tax.

He explained the city has to define and area of service, decide upon the extent of the services and then determine the level of services or how often they will be provided. According to Lyons, the fee is based Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) as a funding mechanism, so the city would have to determine which parcels might be exempt, such as public rights of way, undeveloped parcels or railroad lines.

The ERU is based on the impervious surface on a parcel.  According to the statistics presented, the City of Paducah has 353,589 linear feet of line, 5049 structures and $82 million in public assets.

As for the next steps, Lyons mentioned a public meeting Wednesday evening at city call at 5 p.m.  The presentation will be about the proposed storm water utility and the associated fee structure, with time afterward for questions and answers.  The meeting will also be available for viewing on Government 11 and streamed live.  A survey is available at www.paducahky.gov. He said Strand and Associates would be back at the commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 27 with a recommendation.

Commissioner Sarah Stewart Holland also had questions, asking if every owner of property will pay the fee. Lyons said every property owner that is developed will pay the fee. Stewart Holland emphasized that there could be taxpayers who do not own property who will not pay this fee, and Lyons concurred with that.

She also asked whether the revenue from the fee should go into city's general fund or a separate account.  Lyons said their recommendation is structured to suggest creating a separate dedicated fund for the storm water utility fee.  He said the money going into the fund would only be used to complete the activities defined in the city's storm water master plan.

Commissioner Sandra Wilson, said she understands when Strand and Associates comes back to the meeting on Nov. 27, the commission would not be voting on the fee at that meeting."I would really like to see you have a few more public meetings before we would say yes or no on that fee and what it would be. One (meeting) tomorrow night doesn't seem quite enough," said Wilson.

Strand and Associates will be back in less than two weeks to make a recommendation to the city, but Lyons said after the commissioners approve a fee their plan calls for more public meetings to be held to help the citizens  understand all the details.

"So the longer we put this off, the greater the chances of more flooding to happen, the greater the chances of the changes in weather patterns are going to keep increasing," said Harless, who said she is comfortable in the commission not making a decision until after the new year, because two new city commissioners will be seated and the board needs to make the decision together. But, she emphasized putting off the decision is only prolonging the major projects that need to be completed and reiterated the fee is the only way to pay for it.

Also during the meeting, the board approved an ordinance for a contract with Bacon Farmer Workman Engineering & Testing, Inc. for architectural design, permitting assistance and construction documentation in the amount of $36,320 for the Noble Park Peck Addition Project, which is near the Cairo Road entrance to Noble Park with the plan to relocate the Peck memorial at the entrance to a new location in the park that will have nature trails, seating, and outdoor educational areas providing information on topics such as recycling, tree identification, stormwater management, and litter control.

The trails will tie into the existing nature trail near the Anna Baumer Building and the Amphitheater. Mr.  Lane Peck established a fund in 2016 totaling  $300,000 with the Community Foundation of West Kentucky to be used for nature and outdoor  education.  Peck passed away in 2016.  The monument at the Cairo Road entrance is in honor of Mr. Peck’s late wife.

There was no public comments, but Commissioner Richard Abraham did voice his concern about the two local high schools that were in the Paducah Veterans Day parade, but did not perform with their flags.  Abraham said he had talked with the band directors at both high schools and wondered if the resolution the city passed regarding the flags to be flown during the Veterans Day parade also include the school's flags

City Manager Jim Arndt explained the resolution specifically says the only flags to be flown are the U.S. Flag and the Armed Services flag and so the city is not discriminating, would include both schools, unless the commissioners choose to amend its resolution to allow both schools to fly their school flags.  Abraham was in favor of that solution.  Commissioner Wilson said both schools were cooperative and understanding the day of the parade.

In other city commissioner business:
• Paducah Police Chief Brandon Barnhill introduced the department’s newest officers:  Adam Brown and Derek Muscovalley.  McCracken County District Court Judge Todd Jones conducted the swearing-in for Police Officer Tyson Riley.

• Harless proclaimed November 13 as National Retriever Championship Day to recognize the event being held at the West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area.

• Harless proclaimed November as Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month.  There are more than 200 homeless students in the Paducah Independent School District

• The winners of the Veterans Day Essay Poster & Essay Contest were recognized with the first place winners reading their essays to the Board.  The students wrote essays with the theme Veterans – Your Service is not Forgotten

• Christopher Jones appointed to the Tree Advisory Board.• Municipal Order approved for change order one and two, with Tyler Technology for the Computer Aided Dispatch purchase and installation agreement for the Paducah 911 Center.  The addition and deletions of equipment and  software in the change orders result in a decrease to the total contract by $59,745.

• Municipal Order approved for a change order with Equature, Inc. regarding the upgrade to the recording system for the Paducah 911 Center.  The change order only changes the timeline for the third milestone payment.  The project cost is not changing.

• Municipal Order approved to change the contractual off-duty employment rates for Paducah Police Officers.  Effective January 1, 2019, the rate will be $37 per hour for officers.  The contracting party or organization will be charged $65 per hour. 

• Municipal Order approved for a two-year contract effective December 1 with the Paducah Housing Authority for the administration and management of the Housing Choice Voucher Program - also known as Section 8.  The Section 8 office located at City Hall will be transitioning to a new location at the Housing Authority by January 1.

• A new ordinance was introduced for the closure of the alley between Brown Street and Murray Avenue.  The commission will vote on the ordinance on Nov. 27.

On the Net:

Paducah City Government
Live Stream link for Public Meeting


Published 09:11 PM, Tuesday Nov. 13, 2018
Updated 10:59 AM, Thursday Nov. 15, 2018

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