Bidders picking up their specs for East Second project

Oil City Council members heard an update on the East Second Street project and approved a second reading of the city’s 2023 budget with no changes during the panel’s meeting Thursday.

City manager Mark Schroyer said 11 bidders have picked up specifications for the East Second project and five attended a pre-bid meeting with the city earlier this week.

“At the meeting the questions were limited, so that tells me we have good specifications,” Schroyer said. Bids for the multi-million dollar project will be opened later this month, he added.

The project will involve replacing the road, sidewalks and water and sewer lines as well as installing curb ramps that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act at every intersection along East Second Street from Wilson Avenue to Route 62, the area known as Buzzard’s Bend.

During the pre-bid meeting, Schroyer said he was told various fixtures or fittings needed for the project take at least six to nine months to get.

“As we have thought for a year and a half, it looks like materials will be the issue,” Schroyer said.

On a more positive note, Schroyer said pipe is now readily available, unlike last year.

“The only issue is PennDOT wants the money to be spent by the end of 2023, that will be tight,” he said.

PennDOT offered to turn the road over to the city along with $2.5 million for the reconstruction of the road and curbs, and the city accepted the offer in 2021 and will now repair the road and be responsible for maintenance.

While reconstructing the road, the city also plans to replace the water and sewer lines on East Second with funds from bonds the city issued in 2021.

The target time frame for the East Second work to start is spring.

As far as the city’s 2023 budget goes, there have been no changes from the first reading of the spending plan last month, Schroyer said.

The budget, which doesn’t call for a tax increase, is scheduled to be up for final approval next week.

But Schroyer noted the city still doesn’t have insurance costs for next year.

“I hope we will have the insurance numbers for next week’s meeting, but if not we will make the necessary adjustments to the budget. I expect an increase but not so much that we have to reopen the budget,” Schroyer said.

Schroyer said he was told that many insurance companies are having trouble getting policies written because they don’t have enough workers to write the policies and some companies aren’t writing new policies due to a lack of employees.

In other business Thursday, council voted to take out a tax anticipation note with First United National Bank for $500,000 with a fixed interest rate of 4.85%.

Schroyer said the city always pays off the tax anticipation note in June and there is no problem paying back the money. The main question this year is what the interest rate will be.

Last year, Schroyer said, the interest rate was so low that it made sense to take out the tax anticipation note.

Councilman Mike Walentosky urged motorists to be particularly mindful of pedestrians, especially at the intersection of Seneca and Sycamore streets where a new bakery, Baked Goods From Heaven, opened Thursday.

Another intersection Walentosky made note of is by the North Side Country Fair where Plummer, Spring and Center streets intersect.

“People aren’t used to looking for pedestrians there, it’s a tough intersection,” he said.

On another note, councilman Dale Massie said Heath’s Market gave away 184 free meals on Thanksgiving Day.


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