Oil City Council Accepts $1.4 Million Bid for Water-Line Crossing Project

| March 15, 2019

OIL CITY, Pa. (EYT) – The Oil City Council accepted a bid from Mortimer’s Excavating in the amount of just over $1.4 million dollars for the water line crossing project on the Allegheny River and Oil Creek.

The bid of $1,402,829.00 was the lowest of four submitted to the City with the bids ranging from Mortimer’s low bid to a high bid of $2,174.968.00 from Mealy. The other two bids came from Bison Construction ($1,455,555.00) and Terra Works ($1,883,921.00).

All the bids were at least $50,000.00 over the estimated cost of the project from the city’s engineer, Arcadis, but Tom Hartwig of Arcadis explained to the Council the reason for the difference had to do with how drilling costs were figured in the bid versus how the companies bid on the project.

“We set our estimate figuring a difference in the drilling price,” Hartwig said. “We figured less for drilling through soil and higher for drilling through rock. When the bids came back, they had the same price for soil and rock. If we had done our estimate that way, it would have been about a $50,000.00 or so higher estimate.”

The project includes placing water lines under both bodies of water. Five years ago, there were four lines going from the South Side to the North Side but two of those had to be shut down because they were losing 200,000 gallons of water a day.


The city is purchasing a pair of properties on Plummer Street from the Venango County Land Bank at $1.00 each.

Both parcels are small (0.10 of an acre and 0.06 of an acre) and Tecumseh Outdoor Advertising, LLC of Franklin, Pa., had put in bids to the Land Bank to buy the properties for $600.00 each from the County.

But, as it has the right to do by law, Oil City objected to the sale primarily because of a lien in the amount of $4,400.00 on one of the properties, money for which the City would be on the hook for through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program since it used CDBG money to tear down a structure on that property.

According to City solicitor Robert Varsek, he has talked to Tecumseh, and the company is willing to buy the land from the City and pay the lien.


After Schroyer said the City and the City’s Firefighter union had come to a tentative agreement on a new contract, the contract was tabled until the next meeting to finalize details.

The contract that was originally presented to the Council for a vote – which could still change – included 2.5 percent raises over the three years of the contract (2020-2022) with a $300.00 clothing allowance for each of the three years. The firefighters would see an increase in their health insurance premium contribution to 8 percent in 2020, 9 percent in 2021 and 10 percent in 2022 while the prescription plan would remain as it currently is.

Also in the contract, sick day reimbursement would be paid at retirement at a rate of one day for every six days accumulated.

A finalized contract could be voted on at the March 28, 2019, meeting.


In other business the council:

  • Accepted the resignation of police officer Mitchell Labesky, who is taking a job with the Warren (Pa.) police department. Schroyer was not happy with Labesky’s resignation saying that he had only been on the job a little less than a year and that the City had put a lot of time and money into training and uniforms for him. Labesky is leaving to take a job closer to his hometown. Councilman Ron Gustafson noted that despite Schroyer’s concerns, it wasn’t like the council could not accept Labesky’s resignation.
  • Approved a request from Disruption Softball to use the Mitchell Park and Hasson Park fields for practices for its travel softball teams that range from 10U to 18U Sundays from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. March 18, 2019, through November 25, 2019, and to use the fields during the week from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. when they are no being used by co-ed softball.
  • Gave permission for the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s fourth annual Oil Heritage Festival Bike’n’Brew July 20, 2019, in Justus Park. The event will take place from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Approved a request from the Venango Fatherhood Initiative for its 17th annual Soapbox Derby to be held from approximately 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. July 30, on Central Avenue.
  • Granted permission, with the stipulation that a traffic control plan is presented, for the Glowing With Hope 5K held by Venango County to raise awareness for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as show appreciation and support to the men and women of all branches of the military in the community. The run will take place between 6:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. August 24, 2019. Fire chief Mark Hicks raised a concern that last year, the organizers failed to provide adequate traffic control forcing the fire department and the fire police to step in at the last minute. The council agreed to allow the event to be held again this year as long as a traffic control plan is submitted.
  • Approved $83,590.30 worth of parts for the Water Department.
  • Heard from and agreed with the Civil Service Commission stating that it had approved joint testing with the City of Franklin for part-time firefighters in a move that will be “cost-effective” to both cities. The Civil Service Commission also approved conducting lieutenant promotional testing and entry-level testing for the police department.

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