OC Council OKs deal with city’s non-uniformed workers

Oil City Council members ratified a three-year contract for its non-uniformed employees at a meeting Thursday.

The labor deal covers about 40 city workers who are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

The new three-year pact extends through the end of 2021 and includes a 2.5 percent pay hike in each of the three years.

In praising the city staff for its efforts in negotiating the contract, city manager Mark Schroyer told council, “It’s fair.”

The city has two other labor contracts with employees. The firefighters’ contract as well as the police department’s labor agreement run through the end of this year.

Three personnel issues dealing with membership on city panels were addressed Thursday.

Council accepted the resignations of Judith Barrett from the city’s Redevelopment Authority and Margaret Brostrom from the Shade Tree Commission. Todd Smith was appointed to the Shade Tree Commission.

Demolition to begin

In other business Thursday, Curt Greene, the city code enforcement officer, told council Webco has started setting up for a demolition project on Seneca Street.

The buildings to be razed include the former Genova’s Restaurant and a former automotive repair business. The structures are adjacent to the Webco plant.

Schroyer told council that Venango County officials have informed him that work on the Cornplanter Square renovations is expected to start by the end of April.

A second project to build a county transportation hub on Elm Street could get underway by early summer, he said.

Council voted to approve a Pi Day Pi K event on Saturday, March 16, in the vicinity of the Oil City Middle School. The city police department helps with the event, sponsored by the Oil City High School’s math and physics club.

Water bill an issue

Adam Bliss, a former Oil City resident who retired from the Army and has returned home to live, questioned council about a $200 city water bill. In buying a house, Bliss said he learned he was being charged the water bill because the former owners failed to pay it.

“I’m a little dumbfounded,” he said. “How is it OK for the city to do that?”

Insisting the late payment should not be his responsibility, Bliss said other utilities do not levy unpaid bills on subsequent property owners.

Councilman Ron Gustafson said the late charge should have been “included in the settlement” when Bliss purchased the home with the $200 assigned to the seller to pay.

Councilman Michael Poff suggested Bliss should “go to your settlement company and say ‘you owe me $200’.”

At the close of the meeting, Bliss met with some city representatives to further discuss the issue.

Pumps are installed

Jason Herman, head of the city’s water department, told council that two new water booster pumping stations, one located in the 400 block of Central Avenue and the other at 2 Zemke Lane, have been successfully installed.

The cost of the project was nearly $1.6 million. The pumps are used to fill the city’s water tanks.

“They started up and ran,” Herman said. “No major hiccups. It went off without a hitch and everything worked the way we planned.”