Oil City Faring Well in Face of Pandemic

| July 10, 2020

OIL CITY, Pa. (EYT) – Oil City seems to be weathering the ongoing COIVD-19 pandemic relatively well, according to city officials.

“You can see the revenues in the general fund are down somewhat, which we expected,” city manager Mark Schroyer said during Thursday night’s meeting, noting some shifts were expected due to deadlines being pushed back.

“Everything else is not too bad.”

Schroyer added that real estate taxes are currently down somewhat, as well, but that can also be attributed to the deadline extensions.

“The accounts overall are not that bad.”

Schroyer went on to note expenses have been down, and department heads have kept things “tight” over the recent months and weathered the worst of the pandemic so far without layoffs.

According to Schroyer, the long term financial effects of the pandemic aren’t clear yet and should be more evident following the upcoming second-quarter reconciliation, but he believes Oil City may weather the storm better than some other cities.

“With Oil City being such a financially stressed city and area, I’m speculating that the impact on our revenues are not going to be as large as they would be in some cities because a lot of people in Oil City area are already on some kind of fixed income.”

Schroyer stated that more cities with less of the population on fixed incomes would likely see more of a dip in their revenue than a financially-stressed city.

“It’s somewhat of a positive if you look at it that way because the hit will be less severe than in a more affluent city, but we’ll see how that plays out in the second quarter.”

Masks Wearing Urged

Council member Michael Poff spoke strongly in favor of pandemic-related health directives, particularly the wearing of masks.

“I want to thank a lot of people. I know for some reason wearing a mask has become something of an angst for some people, and every time I see someone wearing a mask, I know that’s a gift for me, not for them. Wearing a mask really only minimally helps ourselves, and we trust that it does help our neighbors,” Poff said.

“Hopefully next year we can have that big party, Oil City 150: it’ll be one hell of a party, and we can look back at this as a time we were together and one community, and not 10,000 individuals looking out for ourselves.”

“It’s tough to want to take care of your neighbors when you don’t trust them, and we don’t always trust each other, and we want to be angry about other things. Trust is really the basis of relationships.

“When I look around here and see everyone wearing masks, I thank you. I hate wearing a mask. It fogs my glasses really easy. It’s miserable. I thank my neighbors because I know that’s a sign of love when they wear the masks because no one wants to wear a mask everywhere they go.”

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business the council:

  • Approved a request from the Venango Chamber of Commerce for the closure of Sycamore Street on July 25-26 for live music during the Oil Heritage week. The motion passed in a 4-1 vote, with council member Michael Poff voting against it due to concerns over social distancing at such an event.
  • Approved an agreement between Venango County Mental Health and the Oil City Police Department for emergency transportation services.
  • Approved a request from the Oil City YMCA for the use of the Mitchell Avenue Little League field on July 14 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for a t-ball program.
  • Awarded a resurfacing bid to IA construction Corporation, Inc. of Franklin for the resurfacing of portions of several city streets. The bid amount of $392,139.88 came in nearly $100,000.00 lower than the next closest bid and well under the estimated $500,000.00 cost.

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