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Council OKs waiver for Airmate

This Article is brought to you by The Bryan Times

By Max Reinhart

May 2, 2022

Bryan City Council on Monday paved the way for a major expansion project at a longtime Bryan manufacturer while amending city code ahead of the upcoming changes in trash collection.

The Airmate Company is expanding its 40,000-square-foot facility, at 16280 County Road D, by about 26,000 square feet to accommodate increased demand.

To meet safety regulations, the facility requires a more robust sprinkler system, which cannot be accommodated by its current water source, a well.

Since last year, Airmate President Carol Schreder Czech has been in ongoing discussions with officials from city hall and Bryan Municipal Utilities about potentially sharing the cost of extending a water line to the facility — estimated to cost between $360,000 and $500,000.

According to the resolution passed by council Monday, the city is providing $50,000 in Revolving Loan Funds through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to help finance the project.

The legislation, approved unanimously, waives Airmate’s obligation to repay the loan funds.

Mayor Carrie Schlade noted the city’s Revolving Loan Fund Committee previously approved the measure. Council needed to act on it due to a change in state law that took effect in 2020 that requires council approval for waiving Revolving Loan Funds.

In a related action, council canceled its meeting scheduled for Monday, May 16 and scheduled a special meeting for Friday, May 20.

Schlade explained that a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency needs to be submitted to the Maumee Valley Planning Organization, which administers the CDBG funding, before the Bryan Board of Public Affairs can act on it. Thus, BPA won’t be able to approve it until its May 24 meeting.

Schlade urged council to move its next meeting so that council could sign off on the BPA’s decision as soon as possible, instead of waiting for their first meeting in June.

“I know (Schreder) is ready to get that water line in,” the mayor said.

The Airmate expansion is expected to bring about eight new jobs to Bryan.

Separately, council approved an ordinance amending the section of city code related to refuse collection.

This comes after the city formalized an agreement last month to end municipal trash collection and hire Republic Services to service the city’s garbage pick-up needs.

Council approved the agreement against the wishes of a handful of residents who said they’d be happy to pay higher prices to keep the city’s current program in place.

Under the agreement with Republic, residents will pay $19.04 per month for the first year of the agreement, with a 3.5% increase each year of the five-year contract. Officials noted the fifth-year rate of $21.85 per month is still less than what residents are paying now.

Officials hope to have the Republic program in place in July.

In other action, council approved:

• A building permit for an interior renovation at 929 E. High St., the former home of Farmers & Merchants State Bank, which is being converted to a Four County Career Center location. City Engineer Brian Wieland noted the relatively low $130,000 construction cost, explaining that students from the vocational school will work for free on the project.

• $102,637.34 in appropriations, including $6,811 from a donation from the American Legion for a flag pole.

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