Oil City has had ‘successful and productive’ year

During Oil City Council’s meeting on Thursday, City Manager Mark Schroyer gave an assessment of 2022 as a year in which the city has been “successful and productive,” despite COVID-19 and various challenges. However, he said, finances will continue to be an issue for the city in the years to come.

The city manager also noted several new small businesses are opening in the city, and the established businesses are doing well.

“The tree lighting in Town Square … was fantastic and Nick’s wagon was well received. The tree all lit up at night is gorgeous,” Schroyer said, referring to Christmas Past and councilman Nick Moran facilitating a “sleigh ride” around the downtown area during last weekend’s event.

“That’s what really makes a city a city. You have a space to get away from things for a little while and you realize, things might not be as bad as they seem.”

Moran noted later in the meeting that about 200 people took a ride on the “sleigh” on wheels.

“Thank you to the staff, council and citizens of Oil City, we couldn’t do this without the citizens,” Schroyer said.

“I think people are buying in to what we are trying to do and they sense things are a little better than they were before.”

Schroyer noted when he arrived as city manager in 2015, he knew he had his hands full and people were less optimistic about Oil City than today.

Now, Schroyer said, people are moving into the city and “buying in to what we are trying to sell, and that is a good thing.”

He said the city must look to the future, as some “key employees are pushing 60” and the city needs to prepare employees to succeed them and also to bring in new employees. To that end, the city is trying to find new employees.

Union Street

Schroyer said water is pooling at the end of Union Street near a culvert. Several years ago, the city had a similar problem with sink holes in the same area.

Jeff Wenner, the city’s director of wastewater services, said he and his crew discovered a sink hole and found the creek was exiting and then re-entering a culvert somewhere on Union Street. He said the entire culvert is cracked and partially collapsed.

The worst-case scenario would be the bridge on Union Street will have to be replaced, Wenner said, but the water has not yet gotten under the road. His concern is one of the many heavy trucks that regularly travel along Union Street will fall through.

Schroyer said the city is looking at potentially significant repairs in the area and is working with a contractor who specializes in this type of project.

He said the city will fix what needs fixed and “fortunately the city’s fund reserves are healthy if we need to do emergency repairs.”

Other business

— The city authorized the submission of three applications for COVID-19 American Rescue Plan funds through the state Department of Community and Economic Development for water, sewer and stormwater improvements in the area of Jefferson and Clearfield streets.

— At the Oil City Fire Department, Noel Bartlett was promoted to captain, and Nate Danzer and Tim Alex, who were both hired by the fire department last year, each received their paramedic certification.

“Noel has my full support. He is one of the hardest-working people I’ve known in my life,” Oil City Fire Chief Derek Long said at the meeting. Schroyer noted the paramedic training was paid for with grant funds.

— The city recently obtained a $50,000 grant from the Robert H. Reakirt Foundation for stormwater management in Justus Park, Oil City Community Development Director Kelly Ryan said. She noted cost of the stormwater project will exceed $50,000, so she is applying for another grant for additional funds.

— Schroyer said the city recently purchased a 2022 F250 pickup truck with a utility body for the Water Department. He said the city was fortunate to get the truck right as it hit the lot, otherwise the city might have been looking at a 12- to 18-month wait on the vehicle. The city also is looking to purchase a pickup truck for police.


For more local news, visit TheDerrick.com.