BG collects $22.4 million in income tax in ‘22


Council heard updates on city finances and the downtown public restroom project Monday.

Council’s finance committee received a 2022 year-end financial update from Finance Director Dana Pinkert.

The city ended 2022 with income tax receipts higher than expected.

“Collections came in higher in 2022 than 2021, and higher than our original estimate,” Pinkert said.

The city had ended 2021 with collections totaling just under $22.2 million, and projected collections of $22.4 million for 2022, or an increase of 4%.

Actual collections for 2022 amounted to just over $23.7 million, or a nearly 7% increase.

However, Pinkert said they are still estimating a 4% increase in receipts for 2023.

“It’s better if we get more than less than we estimated,” she said.

While the new year has started off strong, Pinkert said, there are still some areas to watch.

“We started 2023 on solid financial footing, but still expect to see some impact on operating and capital costs from the 2022 inflationary highs,” she said, adding later that inflation seems to be slowing a bit, and fuel prices are coming down, but it’s not clear how long that will last.

Public Services Director Joe Fawcett also updated council on the downtown public restroom project.

Council previously allocated ARPA funds to renovate the former Huntington mini-bank site along East Church Street into public restrooms. Fawcett said that a contractor has been hired for the project, and that work will hopefully begin in the coming weeks. He said they hope to have the restrooms open before summer.

Also at the meeting, council:

• Heard from resident David Drain that 547 people have signed a petition against the proposed Pedestrian Residential District, featured in the city’s proposed zoning code update.

• Heard Mayor Mike Aspacher state that he recently visited the city’s water treatment facility and praised the work of staff there. They have “really an unbelievably huge task,” he said, saying later “They’re doing a great job of modernizing the treatment methods that are used in the plant.”

• Unanimously approved a request for a street vacation for an unimproved portion of Gould Street, between South Enterprise Street and Railroad Avenue, and reserving a utility easement. The petitioners were John Walker and Julie Ann Stevens, Stephen and Carla Meredith, David Codding on behalf of Rail View Properties, and Vicky Valentine-Adler on behalf of Lawnview Rentals LLC, who all own adjoining properties.

Their petition stated that “each of the current or previous lot owners have performed all maintenance and repair of this area for more than 40 years. People are driving, walking, and otherwise trespassing through our properties, in many cases leaving ruts and debris that is put to the lot owners to repair and maintain. There have been numerous cases, some involving BG Police. We are requesting that Gould be vacated between South Enterprise and Railroad Avenue and be apportioned equally to each of the four lot owners so that each may secure, protect, and have beneficial use of this area.”

Council’s planning, zoning, and economic development committee held a public hearing on the matter just before the council meeting.

• Introduced a series of five ordinances related “to ongoing adjustments to the city’s organizational structure,” according to a legislative package document prepared for council, specifically focusing on the city’s fire division and the GIS division. The ordinances would move the BGFD’s three fire captains from a 24-hour shift schedule to a more traditional workweek schedule; the document stated that “the fire captains can operate more effectively” under such a change. The legislation also would create the position of GIS manager for the city’s GIS division.

• Introduced an ordinance authorizing Utilities Director Brian O’Connell to advertise for bids and enter into contracts or utilize the interlocal purchasing system for window and door replacement at the Water Pollution Control Facility. According to the legislative package document, the 2023 budget included $71,000 for the replacements, and the doors and windows at the facility are original to the plant, which was built in 1979.

• Introduced an ordinance authorizing O’Connell to enter into an agreement with American Municipal Power for participation in the Community Energy Savings Smart Thermostat Program. According to the legislative package document, this is an opportunity to “reduce energy consumption by automatically reducing retail customer load through the management of connected technologies. The program has the potential to connect water heaters, electric vehicles, pool pumps, and more, but will be focusing initially on smart thermostats.

Customers owning a smart thermostat can participate and would be notified up to 15 times per year. During high peak times, the city would adjust thermostats for a maximum of four hours to reduce load by 1kw and participants can opt out of an event upon notification.

Customers who currently have a connected smart thermostat can sign up and receive a $55 one-time gift card incentive payment.

A customer who does not have a smart thermostat can receive up to a $100 rebate on the purchase of a Smart Thermostat that would allow program participation. The savings to the city, after all utility costs for the program, is estimated to be $14 per thermostat annually on Coincident Peak charges.

No posts to display