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State of the City address includes five reports along with update on budget

City leaders presented an optimistic view of Bowling Green at the State of the City address on Thursday.

“From my perspective, the story of Bowling Green, Ohio, in 2015 is a case study in how to get it right,” said Mayor Richard Edwards.

Bowling Green is getting it right due to its form of government, he said, which includes himself, a municipal administrator and a city council. Collaboration and partnership between various government, city and University entities is also essential.

The address, therefore, was not presented by one person. It included six reports, each “with a heavy emphasis on how we work together the BG way,” Edwards said.

Municipal Administrator John Fawcett began the reports with an update on Bowling Green’s budget.

“Overall I would say that we are stable and we’re able to provide the services that the citizens want and deserve,” he said.

This is despite the amount of money in the city’s general fund remaining steady rather than increasing. Though income tax revenue has been increasing post-recession, he said, the general fund’s other sources have not. The state-funded local government fund in particular has decreased.

Bowling Green’s economy is “healthy and thriving,” said Sue Clark, executive director of Bowling Green Economic Development. There are increased job openings­—to the point where companies have had to turn down work due to not having enough labor to complete it.

Bowling Green’s downtown is another important aspect of its economy, said Barbara Ruland, executive director of Downtown Bowling Green. The downtown is like a “communal living room.”

She noted upcoming Downtown Bowling Green events, including Art Walk, Classics on Main and the farmer’s market.

City Council President Michael Aspacher outline council’s priorities for 2015: improving the East Wooster Street corridor, improving housing on the city’s east side and developing the green space on the corner of South Church and West Wooster Streets.

“Each of these projects present opportunities for real improvement in our community,” Aspacher said.

Megan Newlove, president of the Board of Public Utilities, said that after water tower construction and demolition projects are completed, the city will have 4.5 million gallons of water storage.

Once the city’s hydroelectric projects are completed, about 35 percent of Bowling Green’s utilities will come from renewable energy sources, Newlove said.

Steve Krakoff, vice president of capital planning, summarized the University’s recent construction projects. Current projects include renovations in South Hall and site preparation for Greek housing, he said.

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