Paducah After COVID-19
Leadership matters as Paducah works through life after COVID-19. A vote for George Bray is a vote for responsible leadership. I respectfully ask for your vote on June 23rd.
Open & Transparent Government
If elected as the Mayor of Paducah, you have my word that I will lead with “TRANSPARENCY.” So, exactly what is transparency? It is the open communication and broad stakeholder representation by YOU, the taxpayer. Government transparency provides objectivity to the decision-making process that helps increase the community’s awareness and full understanding of decisions being made. We will all never agree on everything, and officials are elected to lead and make decisions in the best interest of their constituents. During my career, I have found that people are more empowered and buy into decisions when they understand the WHY and HOW behind decisions, even if they disagree – and my goal is to empower the citizens of Paducah. I strongly believe that transparency is the key to an effective and vibrant government.
It is important to ask citizens for their insights, and it is just as important to effectively listen to their input and recommendations. When we analyze and evaluate information, it is critical that we communicate with you who elected us, of the specifics we reviewed in the process. In the end, we may still disagree, but you will have been heard, and you will know that we took into consideration your concerns and all the information available when making our decision.
There will always be disagreements, and it requires strong leadership to review and move any project forward. I have the skill sets we need to unite our community around a common vision for taking the steps necessary to move Paducah forward – One Vision, One Paducah.
Economic development is the lifeblood of our community, and we need to improve drastically in this area. Expanding good-paying jobs – Driving job growth, good job growth, not service industry jobs is critical to our future. If elected, I will implement a real plan to maximize the opportunity to drive job growth.
- I will work with GPED, the state of Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, McCracken County, the WKCTC WorkForce Development team, surrounding cities, towns, and counties, and anyone else willing to roll up their sleeves in order to reemphasize and focus on economic development to recruit new businesses. I will utilize economic development incentives when possible and where necessary. As Mayor, I will prioritize this initiative and do everything in my power to influence outcomes.
- I will work with the private sector to assist existing businesses in expanding and retaining jobs through all means possible, including both financial assistance, consulting services, and other support for small and medium-sized businesses. Currently, small business creation and support are being addressed by our local Chamber of Commerce, GPED, and the City of Paducah. I will create a small business advisory board that will be charged with advising the city and our community on the coordination of policy and creating initiatives to drive a more vibrant small business community.
- I will propose the implementation of a local investment strategy (Community Investment fund-CIF, crowdfunding, angel investing, etc.) to assist local entrepreneurs with the goal of helping them get access to capital and other support services, all in partnership with the private sector.
Optimize Our Financial Resources
The City of Paducah is faced each day with questions where the answers are critical to making good financial decisions.
- Do we hire a consultant?
- What consultant is best?
- What projects should be prioritized?
- What is the true value of a project to the City?
- How do we finance our projects?
- With all public money?
- With public/private partnerships?
- To what degree?
- How do we protect the City’s interest in these and other relationships?
- What grants should we pursue?
- Is the local share required for a grant worth the investment the City will make regardless of the grant amount?
Of course, there are even more questions that need to be considered depending on the decision before the elected leaders.
Prioritizing projects and initiatives are a critical aspect of government, especially with limited resources. Our City’s revenues approximate $40M annually. We spend the majority of that on Police and Fire protection, Engineering and Public Works, and of course our Parks department. That leaves a small amount to allocate for Economic Development and other projects and initiatives. Therefore, the decisions we make in this area are critical and affect future generations of Paducahans.
So how do I plan to best optimize our Financial Resources…
- By listening to all our citizens
- By prioritizing our wants vs. our needs
- By highly valuing growth and development while balancing that with critical day to day needs
- By working closely with the city finance department and financial advisors
- By benchmarking our City with other cities in similar circumstances and of similar size
- By using my experience with leadership, people, and projects to lead Paducah to sound decision making
Improve Our Infrastructure
Infrastructure is a term we use to describe Paducah’s essential facilities, services, and community-owned structures. Infrastructure is critical and directly impacts the safety and wellbeing of our citizens. It is important to raise the focus and properly prioritize the infrastructure needs of our community. After talking with residents and listening to their concerns, there are three that need our immediate attention.
- The City must have a long-term plan for Storm Water remediation. This issue had not been prioritized for several years, and after the idea for a stormwater utility did not gain favor, the issue appeared to be put on the back burner as it has not been openly discussed since. Changing weather patterns have placed many Paducah citizens at risk with flooding, and we must address long term improvements. It will cost money to make these improvements, and they must be balanced with all other initiatives, but it is an issue of protecting our neighbors, and it must be prioritized.
- 911 requires a significant upgrade in order to continue to provide that first responders can get where they need to be in a timely manner. This upgrade is estimated to be over $13M split between the City and the County. Again, it’s an issue of protecting our neighbors, and the 911 project must be moved to the forefront, funded and begun.
- A new airport terminal at Barkley Regional Airport is a top priority as we work to attract industry to our region. This $35M project requires a $10M local share component and dictates that we find the funds if we are to grow our community. While not an issue of safety, this is an investment in our very future. It is critical to our ability to grow jobs and improve our economy.
- Any city-owned building is a part of the city infrastructure and must be maintained and eventually either upgraded, replaced, or razed. The renovation of City Hall was a good example of that, and there are many other examples where buildings must be routinely evaluated and plans made for upgrading or replacement.
Emphasize Our Transportation Assets
Paducah is blessed to be in an ideal location in relation to much of the population of the United States. We sit well positioned on I-24 between St. Louis and Nashville, which drives much of our tourism and cultural expansion. Our position at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers, as well as our proximity to the Mississippi, has led to the development of a well-documented river industry. P&L railroad and the Paducah railroad shops provide employment here, and the triple rail site located adjacent to the Ohio River provides a significant economic development opportunity. Paducah provides commercial air service out of Barkley Regional Airport and is now planning to build a new airport terminal. The hope is that the new terminal will be online sometime in 2023.
Why is all this important? Because transportation is one of the single largest drivers of the U.S. economy, and Paducah is well-positioned. What will I do to make a difference?
- I will work closely with the Paducah Convention and Tourism Bureau to stay focused on the quilt show and the opportunities that bring.
- I will ensure that the cultural assets that make Paducah so unique, Lowertown, the Carson Center, the Market House, Quilt Museum, and others continue to be embraced and invested in.
- I will look for new tourism, festival, and promotional opportunities to take advantage of these assets.
- I will work with the ever-important river industry to ensure that we support their growth in any way possible.
- I will support the new Barkley Regional Airport terminal in its development, construction, and support the expansion of flights to hub cities more convenient for our travelers.
In short, I understand well the transportation assets we enjoy and will lead the City in promoting and taking advantage of these assets, which I believe is a primary responsibility of the Mayor and city leaders.