BG needs sidewalk repairs
Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor
Thursday, 12 December 2013 10:18
At least one member of Bowling Green City Council wants to see the city spend some money on repair of existing sidewalks in 2014.
"I'd like to see some of the money available put toward repairing existing sidewalks rather than building new sidewalks," Finance Committee Chairman Robert McOmber said during Monday's review of the proposed 2014 city budget. "We need to take a good look at how to get the most bang for the buck."
Fourth Ward Council Member Robert Piasecki said he agreed with McOmber. "I heard a lot of that (sidewalk issues) when I was campaigning."
There is $200,000 in the budget for miscellaneous street and sidewalk projects.
The city has not spent money on sidewalks since 2010 when $50,000 was available from Community Development Block Grant funds. About $90,000 of city money was spent in 2009.
Earlier the city had operated a program where the city and property owner shared the expense on a 50/50 basis. Council would set a maximum amount in the budget and property owners could deposit their share of the cost up to the amount in the budget. The city would then combine the projects and seek bids to choose a contractor to do all of the work.
Municipal Administrator John Fawcett said there has been an active discussion about sidewalks among council and the administration. "I would remind you that there has long been a city ordinance that places the responsibility on the property owner to maintain sidewalks unless damaged by the actions of the city."
Fawcett said an example of city damage would be roots from a tree in the city right-of-way.
There has been some discussion of revising the ordinance, but Fawcett said there is no timeline for completing the task.
The large roadway projects planned for 2014 revolve around West Poe Road.
The nearly two-mile stretch of West Poe from Grove Street to Mitchell Road will be repaved at an estimated cost of $1,144,500 and the Poe-Haskins intersection will be rebuilt at an estimated cost of $852,000.
Fawcett said the intersection project will include turn lanes on Haskins Road and new signalization that includes pedestrian crosswalk lights. "This is not a roundabout, which is what I wanted. That would just require too much property acquisition cost," he said.
Also on the list is $40,000 to repave city parking lot M on Manville Avenue. Fawcett said that project can move forward now that a long-term lease on a portion of the lot has been renewed.
The budget also:
• Funds a chest compression system, power load system for an ambulance and a patient monitor defibrillator, all for the Fire Division.
• Would purchase a five-ton dump truck for the Public Works Department.
• Replace four police cruisers, all with an excess of 100,000 miles on them. There are 17 marked cruisers in the police fleet.
• Indicates the city has outstanding general obligation debt of $17,060,000 with a debt limitation of $46 million.
• Indicates the city's bond rating with Standard and Poor is A+/stable and the Moody's overall rating is AA2. The American Municipal Power credit score is 91 percent.
• Notes that the update to Future Land Use Section of the city's Master Plan has begun and is to be completed in 2014. A firm from Boulder, Colo., has been hired to oversee the effort, which was last done in 1987.