Oil City Council Hears Plenty of Good Financial News

| January 24, 2020

OIL CITY, Pa. (EYT) – The Oil City Council heard some good financial news for the city at its meeting on Thursday.

“We’ve got good financial news,” City Manager Mark Schroyer told the council.

Schroyer said the city was receiving a check in the amount of “$13,000.00 and change” from a recycling grant.

In even better news for the city’s finances, the sale of Industrial Park to SMS Group, Inc., d/b/a SMS Technical Services, was not only going to reap in excess of $200,000.00 from the sale after the bonds are paid off but will also end up saving the city $180,000.00 in interest from the bonds and fees.

“One of the things we kind of lost sight of is because the bonds are being paid off early there is going to be a saving to the taxpayers of Oil City of $180,000.00,” Schroyer said. “Because the bonds and fees are being paid early and paid off, we are going to be receiving those savings on interest that will not be paid.”

Schroyer said additional money will come from the sale since the building is now owned by a private company that will be paying property taxes and that the company plans to hire new employees as well.

“This has been a good deal,” Schroyer said.

Schroyer also said the city recently received $25,000.00 from the Oil City Days Inn to recoup money the Days Inn owed the city for water and sewage.

“The Days Inn is in the process of reorganizing,” Schroyer said. “They had a fairly significant water and sewer to the city. That bill has been paid in full, and we expect the bills to continue to be paid in full on a monthly basis.”

Fire Chief Mark Hicks kept the good financial news coming when he told the council that the fire department has received $22,000.00 in state grants with the money coming on both the EMS and fire side.

Hicks also mentioned, in response to a thank you letter the city received from Sasol Chemicals (USA) LLC Oil City plant for the Fire Department’s services, that Sasol has donated to the fire department several times.

“We have a good working relationship with them,” Hicks said.

OIL CITY 150TH ANNIVERSARY PLANNING STARTING TO TAKE SHAPE

After discussions took place at the meeting two weeks ago about the upcoming 150th anniversary in the city, which will occur in 2021, the “Take Pride” group in the city has volunteered to spearhead the celebration efforts.

“Take Pride is consisting of several organizations within the City of Oil City,” Kelly Amos, Director of Community Development for the city, said. “There are representatives from the Main Street Organization, from the Arts of Oil City, the Arts Revitalization Initiative, from the Venango Museum, from the Chamber of Commerce and the Neighborhood Association. PNC Bank is there too.”

Amos said that she has had a discussion with PNC Bank about doing some kind of grant for the celebration.

“We need to kind of have an activity for that grant,” Amos said. “So, we need to get moving with the committee.”

Amos said Take Pride has suggested holding a meeting at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 10, at the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Anyone that would be interested in joining us, we ask that they meet us there,” Amos said. “This is just our start off. If you would like to be a part of it and are unable to attend, please e-mail me or give me a call here at City Hall.”

Schroyer said a celebration of this scale takes a lot of planning to coordinate all the groups that could be involved.

“The initial thought is since April of next year is the official date, maybe we do something in April kind of recognizing the official anniversary depending on the weather. Then, maybe in coordination with summer festivities, we do the full-blown celebration at that time once the weather breaks.”

Schroyer said the thought is the city is going to splurge a little bit on the celebration.

“We would like to get a somewhat fairly known named band up here to kind of draw interest in stuff,” Schroyer said.

POLICE OFFICER HIRED

The Council hired Joab Orr as a police officer in the city starting January 26.

According to Schroyer, Orr was previously employed as a police officer by the city before leaving to pursue other opportunities but has since decided to return.

“He left the city in good standing,” Schroyer said. “We are happy to have him back.”

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business the Council:

  • Passed a resolution opposing the closing of Polk State Center. The resolution was very similar to many other resolutions being passed around the county and said the closure would be “extremely detrimental” to all the individuals who reside there and will affect 800 employees, as well as have a $134,400,000.00 impact on the region.
  • Heard from Schroyer that the Oil City Days Inn is currently in the process of updating and renovating the building. Schroyer said it is his understanding that the Days Inn is currently in a “somewhat closed capacity” and should be reopening in 30 to 45 days. He also said the Days Inn is still allowing the city to park in its parking lot
  • Was informed by Schroyer that all the money in the pension funds has been transferred from PNC Bank to Hefren-Tillotson and that PNC Bank has been extremely professional under tough circumstances. Last year, the Oil City Council elected to take its pension funds out of PNC Bank and transfer them to Hefren-Tillotson after PNC Bank closed its Oil City branch.
  • Passed on the first-two readings basis a resolution vacating the northern portion of Elk Street. This is for the new PennDOT multimodal project. The street is actually already blocked off and torn up. A third and final reading will occur at the next meeting.
  • Made the following appointments: Isaiah Dunham and Moon to the COG (Continuity of Government), Moon and Ron Gustafson to the Employees Pension Board, Moon and Dunham to the Fire Pension Board, Moon and Michael Waltentosky to the Police Pension Board, and Nancy Ryan to a five-year term on the Shade Tree Commission. There are currently two vacancies on the Planning Commission. Anyone interested should contact City Hall.

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