O.C. condemns home to preserve water supply pipeline

A recent excavation project at a home uncovered a major Oil City waterline issue that prompted City Council at a meeting Thursday to condemn and eventually purchase the property.

A resolution to condemn the home at 3 Harold St. puts the property in the eminent domain category, which allows the city to take the building and land. It focuses on the need to “protect and preserve an existing water supply pipeline critical to the city’s uninterrupted water supply,” according to the measure.

The exposure of the pipeline puts it “at risk of damage or destruction,” notes the resolution.

The condemnation and subsequent purchase are necessary “for the safety and health of the city residents” so the line can be protected, said Bob Varsek, city solicitor.

The property, which is unoccupied and owned by out-of-town residents, will be appraised and the owners “offered just compensation,” said Varsek.

Personnel changes

Council approved the hiring of Mitchell Labesky, 21, of Warren, to the police force. Labesky attended Slippery Rock University and is a recent graduate of the Mercyhurst Police Academy. The resignation of Scott Hargenrader from the police force was also accepted.

City man honored

Council issued a proclamation in honor of Guy Emanuele, longtime owner of the L.C. Emanuele Co. of Oil City. Emanuele was in the wholesale fruit and vegetable business for 63 years and recently retired. Council also recognized his wife, Mary, and longtime company employee Steve Spence.

Grant application gets OK

Council authorized the submission of the 2018 Community Development Block Grant application to the state Department of Community and Economic Development. The grant funds are pegged at $296,249 with most of the money earmarked for demolition of blighted buildings and city street paving.

Council bills endorsed

Three council bills were given preliminary approval.

Two bills, both versions that reflect state updates, are the International Property Maintenance Code and the Pennsylvania Construction Code. The city has had both codes in effect for years.

The measures deal with mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fuel gas, energy and related construction.

A third bill lays out a schedule of attorney’s fees that would be levied in connection with cases involving the collection of delinquent taxes as well as various property liens.

The enforcement of collection efforts would require late payers to pay the fees as part of the collection process.

In other business

– Council agreed to close a portion of Seneca Street for the city’s First Night parade on Dec. 31. In addition, the city will allow the use of Justus Park that night for events and fireworks, along with providing sand piles for bonfires in Justus Park and the Central Avenue Plaza.

– Fire Chief Mark Hicks told council the department’s annual Coats for Kids has raised about $9,000, including $5,000 donated when firefighters held an on-street collection last week. The goal is $17,000, he said. Contributions are being accepted at the fire station on Central Avenue.