Tuesday's Commission Meeting Highlights
By WestKyStar Staff
PADUCAH, KY - Tuesday evening the Paducah City Commission met for its regular meeting. Highlights were recorded by Pam Spencer, City Information Officer.
Noble Park Swimming Pool Rehabilitation Project Report
Parks Services Director Mark Thompson and Chad McCann, a professional engineer with Florence & Hutcheson (F&H), provided the Mayor and Commissioners an update on the Noble Park swimming pool rehabilitation project. The City has an agreement with F&H for professional engineering services associated with the project including a code review, an existing conditions assessment, a preliminary engineering report, design and permitting, bidding and procurement, and construction administration services. Earlier this year, F&H conducted a preliminary report showing that the Noble Park Pool needs a new liner system, gutter and piping systems, circulation, filtration, and disinfection systems, and new treatment buildings. F&H also recommends a new slide, diving boards, lifeguard chairs, and platforms. At a Commission meeting in March, the City Commission agreed to look at the cost of removing the wading pool and adding a spray pad area. A bid opening for the project was held July 27 with the lowest bid at $1.28 million, which was above what the City had budgeted for the project. In the time since the bid opening, F&H has been working to modify the project to lower the costs. The project still includes a new pool liner, gutter and piping systems, filters, recirculation pump, new disinfection system, new slide, spray pad, and the demolition of the wading pool. The modifications to reduce the project costs include the reduction in size for the treatment building. Also, the City rather than the contractor would purchase and install the pool amenities including new diving platforms, diving boards, lifeguard chairs, and ropes. F&H estimates the project will now cost $890,000. The City plans to rebid the project in mid-October with the project to be completed by May 1, 2013. The Noble Park Pool has not received a significant renovation since 1992. The Noble Park Pool averages 300-400 visitors per day during the summer.
Property Tax Levy Public Hearing and Introduction of Ordinance
(vote Sept. 25)
After a public hearing, the Mayor and Commissioners introduced an ordinance to set the real estate and personal property taxes for fiscal year 2013. The City’s real estate tax levy is proposed to remain at 25 cents per $100 assessed value. That rate is the same as the rate set for fiscal years 2008 through 2012. Finance Director Jonathan Perkins says, “Retaining the same tax levy for yet another year shows our concern for citizens during challenging economic times.” Since FY1995, the City’s real estate tax rate has dropped from 43.8 cents to 25 cents per $100 assessed value.
The ordinance also outlines the levies decided by the Paducah Independent School System and the Paducah Junior College. Compared to last year, the tax rate will decrease for the Paducah Junior College falling to 1.7 cents per $100 assessed value (1.8 cents last year). The Paducah Independent School District is maintaining its rate of 74.7 cents per $100 assessed value. For budget planning by a homeowner, a home assessed at $50,000 in the City of Paducah and in the Paducah Independent School District will generate a property tax bill of $507.
Declaration of Surplus Property at 401 Washington Street for Paducah Water Works
The Mayor and Commissioners approved a municipal order declaring the property located at 401 Washington Street as surplus property. The facility is the current location for Paducah Water Works’ offices. Paducah Water plans to build a new office facility on North 8th Street adjacent to the treatment plant and distribution facilities. Once declared surplus, the property on Washington Street will be put on the market for sale. Once sold, the funds will be placed in Paducah Water’s general fund account and used toward the construction of the new facility.
Transfer of LowerTown Properties for Artist Relocation Recruitment Program
The Mayor and Commissioners approved an ordinance to approve the transfer of seven pieces of property from Friends of Main Street, Inc. to the City of Paducah. The properties are located at 427 North 6th Street; 421 North 5th Street; 625 North 6th Street; 717 Harrison; 517 North 7th Street; 511-517 North 5th Street; and 533 Madison Street. Paducah Renaissance Alliance (the Main Street Department) will work to sell and convey the property to qualified candidates under the Artist Relocation Recruitment Program. Four of the parcels are vacant lots. PRA Executive Director Lisa Thompson has a vision for the property located at 533 Madison Street, the Smedley-Yeiser house. Thompson would like the property to eventually become the office for PRA in addition to a LowerTown information center that could offer meeting and gallery space. Thompson also plans to have a design prepared for a smaller more economical home with a studio/gallery that could be built on one of the vacant lots by a prospective artist. The home would be in the $125,000-$150,000 price range. Thompson says, “Every week I get artists from all over the country calling me who want to move here.” The smaller house/gallery design would be attractive and more affordable to a larger group of prospective artists.
MOU for Incentives for H.B. Fuller
The Mayor and Commissioners approved an ordinance for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the City of Paducah and H.B. Fuller, an industrial adhesives manufacturer located at 5000 Charter Oak Drive in Paducah. In 2010, the company announced an investment in a new line of equipment at its Paducah plant which would increase the number of jobs at the facility. The company applied for tax benefits through the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority’s (KEDFA) Business Investment Program. Final approval of the tax benefits is on KEDFA’s agenda for its September 27 meeting. H.B. Fuller states that it is investing $1,854,401 in the plant upgrades with the planned addition of 14 new jobs to its existing workforce of 45. The tax benefits from the State include an incentive up to $250,000. The state incentives require a local match. In the MOU, once H.B. Fuller hires the 14 new employees, the City of Paducah will provide a rebate to H.B. Fuller of 1 percent of the taxable wages of those employees for a period no longer than ten years.
LowerTown Art and Music Festival
Michael Terra and Stefanie Graves, co-organizers of the LowerTown Art and Music Festival, provided the Mayor and Commissioner with a recap of this year’s event which was held May 18-20,
2012. Terra says that approximately 16,000 people attended this year’s festival. Volunteers are stationed at each entrance to the festival and count the people in addition to asking which zip code they are from and how they heard about the festival. Graves says 70 artists applied to be a part of the festival with 30% of the applicants saying they heard about the festival from other artists. Graves says, “You build a festival’s reputation from the reviews of the artists who have participated.” Commissioner Carol Gault says, “Every time I attend the festival, there’s something new that’s been added, a new twist, and that keeps it exciting.” Talking about the success of the festival, Mayor Bill Paxton says, “I think the festival has done what it’s supposed to do—bring people to Paducah, bring people to LowerTown.” Terra also presented the Mayor and Commission with an award of thanks for the City’s financial support. At the end of the presentation Graves stated that due to her busy schedule she would no longer be the festival co-organizer. However, Michael Terra’s wife, Victoria, will take on that role.
In memory of those who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 attack and to honor the first responders who responded on that day in New York City, members of the Paducah Police and Fire Departments presented the colors at the beginning of the Commission meeting.
Boards and Commissions: Bernice Belt reappointed to the Human Rights Commission. Belt also is the chair of the Human Rights Commission.
Ordinances approved to purchase the following vehicles utilizing the State contract in accordance with the Fleet Plan:
Two Dodge Chargers for the Police Department in the amount of $56,452.40;
Three Ford Police Interceptor vehicles for the Police Department in the amount of $86006.64;
One Chevrolet Suburban for the Parks Department in the amount of $30,470.00;
One Ford F150 ½ ton truck for the Fire Prevention Division in the amount of $33,786.12; and
One Ford Escape for the Fire Prevention Division in the amount of $22,028.00.
Municipal order approved to accept the 2013-2017 McCracken County Area Solid Waste Management Plan prepared by McCracken County with input from the City of Paducah. The plan is required by State statute (KRS 224.43-240).
Municipal order approved declaring the city-owned property located at 623 Husbands Street (0.09 acre) as surplus and transferring the property to Julieann Rose. Rose is purchasing the property for $50 and plans to use the property to grow produce. The property was advertised for bids and has been listed for months on the City’s website.
Ordinance introduced (vote Sept. 25) to purchase 16 eight-yard commercial dumpsters utilizing the State contract. The purchase price is $31,160. Additional dumpsters will be ordered during this fiscal year in a total amount not to exceed $70,000.
City Engineer-Public Works Director Rick Murphy says that he received notification today that Paducah’s floodwall rehabilitation project qualifies to receive federal funding. The qualification process has been an extremely long process taking more than a decade. The next step and hope will be for significant funds to be appropriated by the federal government. Murphy also stated that the Riverfront Project has received approval by the Kentucky Division of Water for its 401 permit, one of three permits required before the project can start. Murphy is cautiously optimistic that the project can start next spring.