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City Commission Meeting Highlights

paducah city commission2 300PADUCAH, Ky. (2/19/14) — The following are the highlights of the Paducah City Commission meeting for Tuesday, Feb. 18 held at City Hall.

Noble Park Lake Bank Stabilization Project

Parks Services Director Mark Thompson and Engineering-Public Works Director Rick Murphy outlined for the Mayor and Commissioners the preliminary plan for the Noble Park Lank Bank Stabilization Project.  The project involves stabilizing the erosion problem around the southern bank of the lake. The presentation began with photos of the existing conditions which show extreme erosion around the edge of the lake and the former Duck Island area. Thompson says, “We want to attack first the area with the largest deterioration. It is in the most desperate need of repair and has the most bank erosion.” The plan is to phase-in the construction of a seawall starting first with the southeast section of the lake. A new walking trail would be constructed adjacent to the bank, the Duck Island house would be placed on a floating structure, and an aeration fountain would be added to the southern half of the lake to help with water circulation which would benefit the health of the fish population. Funding has been set aside in the current year’s budget for the design of the entire southern half of the lake and the construction of the initial phase.

Recycling Facilities

City Manager Jeff Pederson updated the Mayor and Commissioners on the options explored over the past few weeks regarding recycling.  He has met with Republic, Greater Paducah Sustainability Project (GPSP)-Recycle Now, and Dream Green.  Currently, GPSP operates a recycling drop-off facility on North 8th Street.  Paducah Water has allowed GPSP use of the facility on North 8th Street for several years but has requested the return of the property for its own purposes.   Over the past few weeks, GPSP and Pederson have reviewed potential buildings to move the operation and explored the costs of building a new facility.  The estimate is that a half million dollars would be needed to facilitate either option.  Pederson also has reviewed the City’s contract with Republic to explore recycling options for Republic’s transfer station located on Burnett Street.  Pederson says Republic has expressed a willingness to explore receiving recyclables at the transfer station.  The City’s contract with Republic expires Jun. 30, 2015.  Pederson asked the Paducah Board of Commissioners for their guidance in how to move forward with the recycling dilemma.  Commissioner Allan Rhodes, who serves on the Paducah Water Works Board, will talk to the board members about the feasibility of another extension to allow GPSP to stay in the North 8th Street location a while longer.  The Mayor and Commissioners asked Pederson to generate cost analyses for recycling options in Paducah including curbside with processing in Paducah and with processing outside of Paducah.  A workshop to discuss the cost options will be scheduled in the near future.

Community Scholarship Program and Paducah School of Art & Design Update

Dr. Lisa Stephenson, KCTCS dual credit director at West Kentucky Community & Technical College, provided the Mayor and Commissioners an update on the Community Scholarship Program.  The Community Scholarship Program motivates students to graduate high school and pursue a higher education by providing each Paducah and McCracken County high school graduate with a two-year tuition scholarship to West Kentucky Community & Technical College provided that each student register for the program, maintain a minimum grade point average and attendance record, and not have major disciplinary problems.  WKCTC President Dr. Barbara Veazey says, “A big part of the program is to have college staff and counselors give students hope that college is part of their future.”  Annually since fiscal year 2011, the City and County each have provided $125,000 toward the program with the remaining program funds provided by the Rotary Club of Paducah, Paducah Junior College, Inc., and numerous private sources.  Dr. Stephenson showed charts depicting the percentage of students in McCracken County who graduate high school but do not go to college.  For 2010, the percentage was 29.5 percent who didn’t go to college.  The program’s goal is to reduce that figure by 20 percent.  For this fall, 556 students are enrolled in the program. 

Ashley Wright, vice president for institutional advancement at West Kentucky Community & Technical College, thanked the Paducah Board of Commissioners for their support of the Paducah School of Art & Design.  The school continues to grow since opening in 2008 in space on Broadway.   The school started with 165 students in 2008 and has grown to 430 students. Since its opening, the school has expanded into LowerTown with the 2011 purchase of Madison Hall which has been renovated to provide classrooms, office space, and studios for ceramics, jewelry, and metals programs.  Adjacent to Madison Hall and under construction is a 7000 square-foot sculpture facility.  This facility is expected to be completed this August.  The final phase will be the renovation of the former Kitchens, Inc. facility at 905 Harrison.  This facility will provide 29,400 square feet of space for design, painting, drawing, and photography.  Wright says, “It will make a beautiful entrance into the city of Paducah and its historic arts district.”  Fundraising is in progress for this phase with the goal to raise $2 million locally with an additional $6 million requested from the state.

Union Agreements with FOP and IAFF (vote Feb. 25)

The Mayor and Commissioners introduced two ordinances for contracts between the City and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 168 and between the City and the Fraternal Order of Police.  Each current contract expires Jun. 30, 2014.  The new contracts are three-year contracts which will be in effect from Jul. 1, 2014 until Jun. 30, 2017.  Negotiations between the City and both unions were held in January with both memberships voting to approve the contracts.  Both contracts include proposes annual wage increases of 1.0%, 1.5%, and 2.0% in 2014, 2015, and 2016. 

Quick Highlights

  • Mayor Gayle Kaler asked for a moment of silence to remember Marine Master Sgt. Aaron Torian who died last weekend while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan.
  • Mayor Kaler invited members of the St. Mary Robotics Club to the Commission Meeting for a demonstration.
  • Personnel actions approved which include the hiring of Special Events Coordinator Molly Tomasello.This is a new position in the Parks Services Department.
  • Human Resources Director Cindy Medford acknowledged the retirement of Paducah Police Officer Michael Wentworth.

Ordinance approved for a seven-year contract with Pepsi MidAmerica for beverage service at the Paducah Parks facilities.  Pepsi will pay the City a one-time fee of $32,558 for a scoreboard and sign upgrades at athletic facilities.  Pepsi also will pay the city $3000 per year for program sponsorship.  Pepsi will install dispensing equipment at Parks facilities, provide banners for Parks programs, and provide concession trailers for certain events.  In return, the City will purchase only Pepsi products through Pepsi MidAmerica for the length of the contract.

Ordinance approved to purchase 13 police radios at a cost of $33,373.60 from Jackson Purchase 2-Way/Motorola.  The majority of the purchase is funded using a $32,000 Kentucky Office of Homeland Security grant.

Ordinance introduced (vote Feb. 25) to accept a Kentucky League of Cities Safety Grant in the amount of $3000 to be used to purchase a security camera.  The grant requires a match of $3000.

Ordinance introduced (vote Feb. 25) for a contract for professional construction inspection services with ICA Engineering for the Greenway Trail segment under construction.  The inspection services, not to exceed $35,000, will be used during the construction of the 52-foot long lighted underpass to allow for the safe crossing of North 8th Street (U.S. 45X).  This is an anticipated component of the project with funds appropriated for it.

Ordinance introduced (vote Feb. 25) for a contract with Federal Materials Company, LLC for concrete ready-mix to be used for a variety of construction and street repair projects.  The contract is a two year contract that includes an additional one-year renewal.

Planning Director Steve Ervin is putting together a request for proposals package that will be advertised this month for the Smedley-Yeiser house located on Madison Street.  This Greek Revival home was built around 1860 and needs to be refurbished to bring it back to its original glory. 

Paducah Symphony board member Roger Truitt addressed the Mayor and Commission asking for help facilitating a meeting between the Symphony and representatives of BBQ on the River, Inc. In Jan., the Symphony received a letter from BBQ on the River stating that the Symphony would no longer be needed to operate the beer and wine garden at the festival.  A letter in response was sent, but Truitt says the Symphony has not replied yet. Truitt stated that the garden is one of the Symphony’s largest fundraisers. Mayor Kaler will work to facilitate a meeting.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Pam Spencer

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