Oil City Council members on Thursday approved putting the multi-million dollar East Second Street project out to bid.
City manager Mark Schroyer said the bids will go out soon and will be opened in December.
“If everything goes well we will break ground in April or May,” Schroyer said, adding that the timeline largely depends on the availability of materials and manpower since the funding and project design are already in place.
A meeting to update the public about the project will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 11 in council chambers.
In other business Thursday, council voted to seek proposals for a tax anticipation note.
Schroyer said one of his goals as city manager has been to get to a point in which the city doesn’t need to look into a tax anticipation note.
“I think we were there last year but interest rates were so low it made sense to take out a tax anticipation note,” Schroyer said. He added he believes it is still worthwhile this year for the city to see what is being offered as far as interest rates and conditions for tax anticipation notes.
The city received its annual audit report from Kim Turnley of the Mark C. Turnley CPA firm at Thursday’s meeting.
Turnley gave a brief overview of the city’s finances and said the city did a very good job in 2021 of budgeting its expenses and revenues.
“There are no issues to bring to your attention… You are doing quite well,” Turnley said.
Schroyer noted the city’s audit was delayed several months this year, as it has been for the past several years.
He said this is not Turnley’s fault and that the firm has done a very good job, but they were unable to complete the audit because a third party actuarial firm didn’t provide Turnley the necessary information in a timely manner.
“If this kind of disruption continues, we may need to shop around (for a different third party.) The audit should have been done in July,” Schroyer said. “Audits are important.”
Kelly Ryen, the city’s community development director, announced that Oil City received a $70,000 grant from the Samuel Justus Trust to renovate the large playground in Hasson Heights.
Installation of the new playground will be under the direction of Snider Recreation, which will do a community build of the playground in the spring, Ryen said. She explained that a crew from Snider, along with 12 to 16 volunteers from the community, will set up the playground next year.
The Oil City Main Street Program was granted permission to close Sycamore Street from Elm to Seneca streets from 4 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 2 for Christmas Past activities.
Plans for the event include a tree lighting ceremony, live music and family friendly holiday activities in Town Square, Kathy Bailey, the Main Street manager, said. She added that new this year will be holiday sleigh rides for children and families in downtown Oil City.
Council approved a request from the Oil City Rotary Club to put up a large Christmas tree in Towne Square. The tree will be put in place the week of Nov. 14 and decorated Nov. 19 with a rain date of Nov. 26.
Bailey also introduced Barbara Peirce, the new ARTS Oil City coordinator.
Peirce, an artist who relocated to Oil City from Oregon in 2016 with her husband, said the ARTS Oil City artist relocation program is at a point where they need a new marketing effort to showcase the area.
In other matters, council approved a resolution to submit an application for a multimodal transportation grant to the Department of Community and Economic Development to reconstruct Colbert Avenue.
The panel received requests to pave Ridge Avenue and Gay Street. Schroyer said the requests would be taken into consideration when the paving committee meets in December.
A vacant lot at 309 Washington Ave., owned by the city, was sold to a neighboring property owner on Washington Avenue for $1,000 in addition to all costs incurred by the bidding and appraisal process the city had to go through to sell the lot, Schroyer said.
He added that the neighbor had approached the city about buying the lot and so the city went through the proper bidding process to sell the property to her.
The woman told Schroyer she will cut the grass and maintain the property, which is what the city wanted.
Councilman Mike Walentosky reminded motorists to be careful of children walking in the city for Halloween activities.
Schroyer noted the city is wrapping up paving for this year.
And Karen Roser, who has a background in customer service and banking, was hired to work in the city’s utilities department.
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