Oil City Council Concerned Over Declining Population, Low Income Rates in Area

| June 24, 2016

IMG_2400OIL CITY, Pa. (EYT) – Oil City Council expressed concern over census information presented by the Venango County Planning Commission at last night’s meeting.

The information compared Oil City to surrounding municipalities in terms of housing characteristics, education statistics, age rate, and unemployment.

Councilman Dale Massie said it is necessary for the council to be aware of population and income numbers, so it can provide fundamental services to Oil City residents.

Using statistics from the American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor, the following information on Oil City was presented:

  • The population of the city has been steadily decreasing since 2000, much like other surrounding areas, with the exception of Rouseville.
  • The median household income in Oil City is around $35,000.00, while the median household income for Pennsylvania is around $53,000.00.
  • The city’s unemployment rate is estimated at 10.3 percent for 2009 to 2014.
  • The median age of Oil City, around 40 years of age, has remained the same since 2000 and is relatively low for the area.
  • Education data from 2000 and 2010 showed that Oil City has a lower high school graduation rate than surrounding municipalities, but a higher rate than Pennsylvania as a whole.
  • In 2000, 48 percent of Oil City residents over the age of 25 had no further education past graduating from high school. This number has been decreasing since 2000.
  • The number of occupied residences in Oil City is 86.7 percent.
  • Oil City has a lower percentage of vacant housing units than Venango County as a whole, although it is taken into account that the county’s percentages are lower due to seasonal housing units.

While Mayor William Moon said people are moving to Oil City, Councilman Ron Gustafson said he was not encouraged by the statistics and commented that the council needs to show potential residents that the city is cared for by officials.

“The more we make repairs, the more we clean up and so forth – those are the tasks at hand that we can do,” Gustafson explained. “We have a responsibility here for the functions of the city…and we need to keep making progress there – waterlines, sewers functioning – if we’re going to attract people back.”

In other business, the city’s audit was presented for the 2015 fiscal year.

Oil City ended 2015 in a positive financial state, with $65,000.00 in revenue in the general fund.

Although Gustafson was surprised due to Oil City having three different managers last year, the city spent less than its budget had allocated for expense purposes.

During public comments, Oil City’s Director of Public Works, Howard Faunce, said construction on a pavilion at the Harriott Avenue playground will begin on June 27, if all goes accordingly.

The pavilion is being built purely from donations – between $15,000 to $20,000, by Faunce’s estimate.

Faunce thanked numerous local businesses for donating and helping with the pavilion’s construction.

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Category: Community, Local News, News