All posts by Amanda Gamby

Bowling Green Achieves Tree City Recognition for 41st Year

The Arbor Day Foundation has named the City of Bowling Green a 2020 Tree City USA in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. The City also received a Tree City USA Growth Award for demonstrating environmental improvement and higher level of tree care. This is the 41st year Bowling Green has been recognized as a Tree City and the 27th time the City has received the Growth Award.
Bowling Green achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2.00 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. “If ever there was a time for trees, now is that time. Communities worldwide are facing issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being, and energy use,” said Dan Lambe, President of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Bowling Green is stepping up to do its part. As a result of your commitment to effective urban forest management, you are helping to provide a solution to these challenges.”
More information on the program is available at www.arborday.org/TreeCityUS
More information on the City’s urban forestry program is available HERE

Bowling Green Recognized for Reliable Electric Service to the Community

In addition to the recently announced RP3 Designation, the City of Bowling Green Electric Division has received national recognition for achieving exceptional electric reliability in 2020. The recognition comes from the American Public Power Association (APPA), a trade group that represents more than 2,000 not-for-profit, community-owned electric utilities.

APPA helps electric utilities track power outage and restoration data through its subscription-based eReliability Tracker service. Once per year, APPA’s Reliability Team compares this data to national statistics tracked by the U.S. Energy Information Administration for all types of electric utilities.

“Public power utilities have proven their commitment to serving their community by continuing to lead the nation in reliability,” said Alex Hofmann, APPA’s Vice President of Technical and Operations Services. “These utilities are the best of the best when it comes to keeping the lights on in their communities.”

Nationwide, the average public power customer has their lights out for less than half the amount of time that customers of other types of utilities do.

“We are grateful to receive this recognition. It is a testament to the hard work of all our staff to ensure that we keep the power on for Bowling Green customers,” said Brian O’Connell, Director of Bowling Green Municipal Utilities.

As one example of this reliability, a Bowling Green customer’s average power outage duration is less than 6 minutes per year compared to the national average of 139 minutes.  We continue to invest in our electric infrastructure for system upgrades and reliability.  Routine maintenance, such as tree trimming around power lines, also reduces nuisance outages from animals or high wind events.

For more information on Bowling Green Municipal Utilities and its commitment to reliability, visit www.bgohio.org.

“Stories in the Woods” at Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve

Bowling Green State University graduate students in Dr. Amilcar Challu’s environmental history seminar class developed a community-based history told along the hiking trails of the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve in Bowling Green, Ohio. Funded by a grant from Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, “Stories in the Woods” introduces the public to the fascinating environmental history of this local nature preserve.

From April 10-May 31, 2021, ten signs located along the green trail of the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve will narrate historical features of the park, from indigenous occupation, to farming, to the present preserve. QR codes on the signs connect visitors via their smartphones to the Stories in the Woods website, providing more information, primary sources and a short reflection. Community members of all ages are invited to visit the preserve for fresh air, captivating stories, and a rejuvenating walk in the woods.

Dani Tippmann, Plant Tradition Bearer of the Myaamia Nation and city park naturalists, Chris Gajewicz and Cinda Stutzman, will host the webinar “Honoring Our Plants” on Wednesday, April 21, from 3-4:30 p.m. Tippmann will share ecological information about the native and non-native plants in St. John’s Woods. Join the webinar at bgsu.edu/storiesinthewoods.

The preserve was originally established as a reserve freshwater well field for municipal use in 1946 but was never used for that purpose and became the Wintergarden Recreation Area.  The current acreage of the preserve includes a significant portion of land once owned by S. W. St. John, an early Bowling Green resident, attorney, and gentleman farmer. In the 1990s, the land, then known as Wintergarden Park, changed its focus to environmental education and natural resources preservation and management.  Now, the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve encompasses 120+ acres of prairie, savanna, and swamp forests along with trails designed for passive recreation activities and nature observation.  Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve is unique in that it is a semi-urban nature preserve and park which actively manages and maintains the land with a high degree of environmental value and offers professional outdoor environmental educational services to community.

Follow the project on Twitter using the hashtag #Storiesinthewoods. To learn more about the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve, visit blogs.bgsu.edu/storiesinthewoods.

For more information, contact Dee Elliott at .

Registration for April Brush Collection Begins April 1

Brush Collection – Schedule between April 1 – April 12

Online Registration Available!

The window to schedule an April Brush Collection will be open from April 1 to April 12.  Residents may go online to register their address for this month’s collection!  Follow the Brush Collection Link located on the home page of the City’s website (www.bgohio.org) to complete the form.  Residents may also call 419-354-6227 to be added to the list of locations where crews will stop.  Collection is scheduled to begin on April 19.  Those who do not call in or go online to register by April 12 will NOT be included on the collection route!

Brush should not be placed curbside any sooner than one week prior to pick up.

Brush and limbs should not be more than 6″ diameter and 6′ in length and placed loosely at the curb – not bundled.  Brush mixed with leaves or other yard debris will not be collected.  The City, at its discretion, will not collect entire tree(s) placed in the right of way because of work by a contractor.

For cul-de-sacs, please do not place brush in the cul-de-sac green space as it may block fire hydrants, and/or it is unmanageable for City equipment to remove.

NOTE: Pickup is by WARD and NOT by normal refuse collection day. To be included on the collection route, residents must register their address prior to the April 12 deadline.

Residents are encouraged to visit the City’s website for more information and details.  Information about this program may be found on the Public Works Division web page or residents may call Public Works at 419-354-6227.

Register Online: https://gis.bgohio.org/brush/dbo_brush_requests_add.php?page=add

City of Bowling Green Recognized as a Reliable Public Power Provider

The City of Bowling Green, OH has earned a Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3)® designation from the American Public Power Association for providing reliable and safe electric service.  While the City has achieved this designation since 2011, this is the first time the City has received the Diamond Level, which is the highest scoring category for the award.

The RP3 designation, which lasts for three years, recognizes public power utilities that demonstrate proficiency in four key disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement. Criteria include sound business practices and a utility-wide commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity. The City of Bowling Green, OH joins more than 270 public power utilities nationwide that hold the RP3 designation.

“I think over the last year or so, we’ve seen the vital importance of running a reliable and safe utility,” says Aaron Haderle, Chair of APPA’s RP3 Review Panel and Manager of Transmission and Distribution Operations at ‎Kissimmee Utility Authority, Florida. “The utilities receiving the RP3 designation have proven that they are committed to running a top-notch public power utility by implementing industry best practices.”

“We are grateful to be honored with this designation,” said Brian O’Connell, Utilities Director.  “This is the result of a lot of work from a lot of people who really care about powering our community. This award is not the end, we are committed to finding areas of improvement in our operations and service to our customers.  Reliable electric service is one of the most important benchmarks in today’s world.”

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The City of Bowling Green is a public power provider for the City and surrounding area and has achieved the RP3 designation since 2011.

The American Public Power Association has offered the RP3 designation for 16 years now. APPA is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 49 million people in 2,000 towns and cities nationwide.  APPA advocates and advises on electricity policy, technology, trends, training, and operations.

Income Tax Filing Due Date: April 15th

The City of Bowling Green income tax filing due date is April 15, 2021 for 2020 tax returns. Payments for 2020 tax returns and the first quarter 2021 estimated tax payment are also due April 15, 2021.

The Bowling Green Income Tax Division requires a copy of Federal tax returns (Form 1040) and all W-2s.  If claiming Bowling Green withholding or a credit for taxes paid to another municipality, the W-2 needs to report this withholding.

Taxpayers can avoid postage by using the drop box located outside the City Administration Building at 304 North Church Street.  The drop box is located on the east side of the building and has a dedicated slot for the Income Tax Division.  Staff will frequently check the drop box throughout the business day (Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm).

Those who are planning to file income tax returns in person are strongly encouraged to do so well in advance of the April 15th deadline.  Historically, the Income Tax Division assists numerous taxpayers on the due date.  Social distancing practices may prevent the division from serving visitors safely and effectively with the same prompt service to which our taxpayers are accustomed.  Taxpayers need to expect a line, slower one customer at a time service, and limited access to the Division’s counter.  Each visitor is required to wear a mask during their visit and to maintain six feet of social distancing from fellow taxpayers.

The Income Tax Division is encouraging taxpayers to prepare their own Bowling Green tax returns.  Fillable and printable forms and instructions are available on the Tax Division’s webpage.  Taxpayers are encouraged to save the form to their computer and then open the form with adobe acrobat.  The form does NOT calculate total income or tax due.   The forms may also be printed, and the information entered by hand.

Those needing assistance may call 419-354-6212.

Forms can be downloaded from our website: FORMS

Need help completing your forms? Call 419.354.6212

A list of Frequently Asked Questions is available on our website and may help provide some guidance.

City Pursues Remedies for Increase in Natural Gas Bills

Current participants of the City of Bowling Green’s natural gas aggregation program will see an increase in their bill from Volunteer Energy Services Inc. for natural gas consumed during the February usage period, and the City is pursuing remedies to the situation.

Volunteer Energy Services Inc. is the competitive retail gas supplier that provides the natural gas that is delivered to the aggregation participants.  Volunteer Energy has already begun to send out the March bills, which include an additional charge of $0.91 per Mcf. Volunteer Energy’s rationale for the increased charge is that, due to the extreme cold during the period of Feb. 5-Feb. 20, 2021, they were forced to purchase significant quantities of natural gas from the spot market to meet increased customer demand and that the cost of those purchases was significantly higher than normal.  Volunteer Energy has stated that this additional increase in rate would be for one month only.

As the natural gas program aggregator for customers in Bowling Green, the City does not agree that Volunteer Energy has the ability to increase customers’ rates in this manner. After a preliminary review, the City of Bowling Green Utilities Department believes that this is a breach of its contract and is reviewing options to take the necessary steps to protect program participants, including obtaining refunds to those customers for all bills that have been paid.

Bowling Green is working with AMPO, Inc., the City’s administrator of the natural gas aggregation program, to take the appropriate actions in concert with the city. These actions will include pursuing remedies to ensure that participants are made whole.  In the meantime, customers should pay their bill to ensure they do not incur late charges.

Questions may be directed to the Utilities Director’s Office by calling 419-354-6246.

Additional Details:

  • The City had no part in approving the additional charge and it was done by Volunteer Energy alone.
  • The latest one-month increase is different than the price change letter that Volunteer issued in February for a FERC regulatory decision.
  • According to Volunteer, the latest one-month increase is due to natural gas market price increases between February 5 to February 20.
  • The City believes this additional cost should not be passed to the customers and is working with AMP to find a remedy.  There is no guarantee the City/AMP will be successful.
  • Customers can opt-out of the City’s aggregation program at no charge and at any time.  The customer can select another gas supplier for their gas service.  A list of available gas suppliers can be found on the PUCO website or the customer can select to be put on Columbia Gas – Standard Choice Offer.  The customer needs to contact the new supplier or Columbia Gas (for the SCO) if they wish to switch gas supplier.
  • The customer’s gas bill will still come from Columbia Gas, regardless of who they select as their gas supplier, or if they stay in the City’s aggregation program.

Utility Business Office Experiencing Technical Difficulties

The Utilities Business Office is experiencing technical difficulties with the system used for processing payments.  As a result, customer payments cannot be processed.  It is anticipated that the system will be restored tomorrow (3/5).  Customers may still utilize the drop box located outside of the City Administrative Services Building at 304 N. Church St.  Payment envelopes are conveniently located with the drop box and those payments will be recorded as being made.  The payment will not be applied to accounts until the system has been restored.

Pilot Residential Food Waste Drop Off to Open March 26th

The EPA estimates that in 2018 alone, more than 63 million tons of food were wasted, and about 40 percent of that came from households.  This estimate represents the single largest material in our everyday trash being sent to landfills and combustion facilities in the United States (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).  The best thing we all can do to reduce the amount of food being landfilled, is to reduce the waste to begin with.  Individuals are encouraged to reduce the amount of food waste created by reviewing their purchasing and food preparation habits. A great resource for starting this process is savethefood.com/.

Residents should also consider composting at their home (if able). This can be done by purchasing an outdoor compost bin or an indoor vermicompost unit, or by selecting another appropriate method suitable to their living arrangement.  Composting in place is more sustainable than a drop off or curbside program because it minimizes the need for transport.  The City has educational resources available to help residents understand how to start this process.

To help reduce the amount of food waste being sent to landfills, the City of Bowling Green is launching a 6-month Pilot Residential Food Waste Drop Off.  The Drop Off will be available to Bowling Green residents beginning Friday, March 26, 2021.  The City is working with GoZero to place 64-gallon containers behind the Public Works garage, near the public Yard Waste Drop Off, on Tarragon Drive.  The area will be clearly marked with signs identifying where to drop off residential food waste and brochures will be available listing the accepted materials and program guidelines.  Food waste CAN NOT be left in the yard waste collection area and yard waste CAN NOT be left in the food waste area.  All food waste collected will be taken to a certified facility to be composted.  Those using this service are encouraged to review the list of accepted items below to minimize the amount of contamination.  Site usage, tonnage collected, contamination issues, and cost will be monitored during the 6-month trial period and a recommendation will be made in August for the future of this site.

Accepted:

  • Fats & Sugars
  • Raw/Cooked Meat, Bones & Dairy
  • Beans & Eggs
  • Baked Goods & Pasta
  • Fruits & Veggies
  • Paper Towels & Napkins (Unlined Paper Items)
  • Greasy Pizza Boxes

Not Accepted:

  • Plastic Bags
  • Traditional Plastics
  • Stone, Glass, & Metal
  • Pet Waste
  • Electronics
  • Styrofoam
  • Healthcare Products

NO PLASTIC BAGS!  Residents are encouraged to use a lidded bucket to transport household food waste to the site.  Residents may use any bucket or container they choose.  To help launch the program, 5-gallon buckets with lids will be distributed to the first 350 residents who request one.  The buckets will  contain educational materials and a label displaying the list of acceptable food waste.  In return, these residents will be asked periodically for feedback on the pilot program.  To request a bucket and/or a label, call 419-354-6222 or email .

The City’s Pilot Food Waste Drop Off has been designed to accept residential quantities of food waste only and is only open to Bowling Green residents.  Businesses, who are interested in collecting and composting food waste, should contact GoZero directly to discuss options.

More information can be found on the City’s website at https://www.bgohio.org/departments/public-works-department/public-works-division/refuse-recycling/pilot-food-waste-drop-off-program/

Prescribed Burn at Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve

The Bowing Green Parks and Recreation Department periodically conducts prescribed burns at the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve as a land management tool. These controlled burns have greatly enhanced the natural habitat for wildlife and assist with plant management – efficiently removing non-native invasive species that invade our local habitat and shade out native plants. Controlled burns are considered a natural resource manager’s most cost-effective tool for managing a natural habitat.

Given the correct weather conditions, the nature preserve will conduct a prescribed burn this spring to maintain the prairie grasses and flowers.  The burn will be conducted by a Certified Prescribed Fire Manager, along with trained City of Bowling Green staff and trained Hancock County Pheasants Forever volunteers. The burn will be supervised by the City of Bowling Green Fire Division.

Should you be using the preserve during the time of a burn, please stay on the trails and maintain distance.  Certain trails may be closed for a short period of time for safety purposes.  Most burns require a couple of hours to complete.

Questions?  Please call Cinda Stutzman, Natural Resources Specialist, at the Rotary Nature Center in the Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve, 419-353-0301.