Money for stormwater master plan included in Paducah city budget

Tuesday, Paducah city commissioners introduced an ordinance for the next fiscal year’s budget.

The city is appropriating $986,000 for an updated comprehensive stormwater management plan. City engineer and Public Works Director Rick Murphy says the stormwater system is aging and over capacity, adding that most storm sewers are 60 to 100 years old.

Stormwater is the result of rain that doesn’t soak into the ground and ends up in surface waterways or sewers. When it rains, you rely on a storm drain to keep water away from your home.

Construction and new development can also lead to more stormwater runoff and pollution into the Ohio River. Updates to the system would go in hand with recent EPA requirements for these systems nationwide.

A master plan would clearly and concisely detail to the city the state of the existing stormwater system, outline what goals need to be put in place to meet current national EPA requirements, and look at possible ways to fund system upgrades.

City Manager Jeff Pederson said Tuesday the city received responses from six consulting firms. Pederson and Murphy have put a committee in place to do interviews over the next few weeks, and then they will present their recommendation to commissioners.

“Hopefully, a recommendation will be before you [commissioners] for a consulting firm to move forward with that plan development some time by the end of July,” Pederson said.

The city is also using an increase in revenue from the general fund to pay an upcoming bond to pay for the rehabilitation of Floodwall Pump Station No. 2. The general fund revenue is projected to be $33.47 million, which is a 2.4 percent increase — or nearly $800,000 — as compared to the current year’s revenue.

Murphy said Pump Station No. 9 is also in need of repairs.

“It has two 3,900 gallons per minute pumps that serve a portion of the south and east of our community,” Murphy said.

He says it became disabled during heavy rain in December.

“When one of those pumps go down, we lose half the capacity of the plant. We could not afford to lose half the capacity, so we had to put in some pumps," Murphy said.

The city rented two temporary emergency pumps for about $33, 0000 to help from December to May.

“The main thing is, we maintained the capacity of the pump plant during that pump being out," Murphy said.

The city is also pursuing a community development block grant to help with the Floodwall Rehabilitation project. Murphy says the floodwall design is 22 years past its life expectancy.

Paducah’s floodwall system protects an estimated $1.2 billion of city and county assets, according to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

The city’s main operation fund, which helps pays for  these rehabilitation projects and services like police or fire, is budgeted at $33,478,200. The total budget comes out to $78,179,895.

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