BG businesses are thriving: Economic director


By Peter Kuebeck

[email protected]

Bowling Green businesses are healthy — and some are poised for expansion, according to the city economic development director.

At last week’s council meeting Kati Thompson said that during retention and expansion visits to local businesses, the overarching message is workforce stability.

“Consistently, employers are fully staffed or only needing to hire a handful of folks,” she said.

Thompson also referenced upcoming business projects which can’t yet be announced by name, but said that among them is an expansion of a current business which would create 57 jobs and invest $18 million in the community.

Another project with a new business which would create 200 jobs with a $38 million capital investment.

She also said that the Abbott Labs project is progressing, noting that the company closed on their property in May and that they are getting further into the design and engineering process. She said that a fuller scope of their timeline should be available in about six weeks.

Also at the meeting, council:

• Heard from resident David Drain, who discussed actions he would like to see the city undertake, including fining rental property owners for failure to register properties. He noted that BG Strong – the new name for the Save Our BG Neighborhoods group – plans to begin reporting unregistered properties.

Other suggested actions included forming a design standards commission or other suitable group to create design standards for neighborhoods, starting with the Pedestrian Residential district; form a committee of residents or business owners in or near Mixed Use Neighborhood zones to help plan their development; require one additional parking space per bedroom for any addition made to an existing property; and create a working group to write legislation governing short term rentals, such as Airbnbs.

• Heard from Rose Drain, who thanked council for the vote to remove two-unit dwellings from the Pedestrian Residential District in the city’s new zoning code, as well as the citizens who contacted public officials with their concerns.

“We all played a role in the challenging process of ‘getting it right.’ Indeed, this process can serve as an object lesson in effective grassroots organizing,” Drain said. “It is a blessing to realize that neighbors can still come together, discuss issues productively, and join forces to advance common concerns.”

• Introduced the annual ordinance to levy assessments upon all non-tax-exempt property in the city for street sweeping and snow removal. According to the legislative package document prepared for council, in addition to paying for a portion of the employees who perform street work, this fund also has an allocation for landfill fees for the disposal of street sweepings, a portion of deicing salt, and expenses related to equipment for repairs, fuel, tires and operational components.

Over the last 10 years, increases averaged 2%. The current amount is $505,000. It is recommended to increase the amount to $515,000, which is slightly less than the historical average. This recommendation is based on inflationary impacts. By law, this legislation must be certified to the county auditor no later than the second Monday in September.

• Introduced, gave three readings to and passed as an emergency measure, an ordinance authorizing Utilities Director Brian O’Connell to enter into contracts with Inliner Solutions LLC for sewer relining.

According to the legislative package document, earlier this year council passed an ordinance advertising for bids and entering into a contact for the work. Three bids were received, but all were 10% or more over the published engineers estimate of $735,000.

The document states that “because the low bid is over 10% of the estimate, there are two options to proceed: rebid the project with a new estimate or seek authorization by ordinance to award the contract to the lowest bidder.

The bids were reviewed and the recommendation is to award the contract to the low bidder, Inliner Solutions LLC for $840,706.

The biggest difference between the engineers’ estimate and the bids came from the unit price for the 33-inch diameter sewer. The largest sewer relined in the past was a 24-inch sewer and therefore there wasn’t a similar project to use as a reference.

The price seems reasonable given two contracts bid exactly the same unit price for the 33-inch sewer. Additionally, it is not likely to receive bids substantially difference than those already submitted.

The document also noted that “the Water and Sewer Capital Improvement Fund … budgeted $835,000 for all sewer relining work in 2023. There are adequate funds in the budget to cover the cost of this project.”

• Voted to excuse Councilman Joel O’Dorisio, who was absent.

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