OC settles on paving list: East Second project discussed

Oil City Council members were told Thursday by city manager Mark Schroyer that the city’s paving committee has settled on the list of streets that will be paved this summer.

Streets scheduled for paving are Filson Avenue from West First Street to the bend at the end of the street, West Second Street from Central Avenue to Reed Street, Harriott Avenue from Spring Street for about 86 feet, Mylan Street from Plummer Street to Colbert Avenue, Transit Street from Bissell Avenue to Washington Avenue and Wayne Street from Glenview Avenue to the dead end.

Paving costs will total close to $500,000 this year, Schroyer said. He added that considering the size and financial position of Oil City, the town’s paving program is “robust.”

“It is the tip of the iceberg…I know there are dozens of streets that need paved in Oil City. We’re spending almost $500,000 a year in city funds paving,” Schroyer said.

He noted that paving has been a priority as long as he has been city manager, and it has been a priority for council.

“It is a very non-political process…the administrative team mostly looks at what streets need paved and makes recommendations,” Schroyer said.

He noted that fixing streets using Community Development Block Grant money takes about two years lead time to go through the process to secure the funds, which must be spent on streets where people with low to moderate incomes live.

Schroyer noted at the meeting that residents and other people who use Charlton Street signed a petition to have that street put on the paving list this year.

The city could probably do something to alleviate the issues with Charlton as chips and tar might be able to be put down this year, Schroyer said.

He said letters and petitions are a good way to get on the paving committee’s radar quicker, but a street may not be paved the year it is requested.

Chad Shirey, a Charlton Street resident and business owner who was at the meeting, offered to help with materials and work that would go into fixing the road.

Shirey also said there are springs in the Charlton Street area and the water is a problem.

Jason Herman, the city’s water department director, agreed about the water being a problem and said it is an issue that must be addressed.

Herman added that several residents along that street have been pumping their basements and letting the water drain into the street. He noted that those residents don’t have the means to deal with the water in the proper way.

In other paving-related news discussed Thursday, Schoryer said the city is still deliberating whether to move ahead with the large street reconstruction project on East Second Street this year or put it off until next year.

He said the project is in the design phase, which is going well, and that it will be ready to go out to bid in March or April. The city will then have to decide if it wants to bid the project this year or wait a year and stockpile materials once it is known the quantity of materials needed.

Schroyer said Herman, who deals with vendors to get material for the city’s in house water projects, “was getting the picture that lead time and availability of materials was worse” than what the engineers with the EADS Group, who are designing the East Second Street project, are projecting.

The money the city has budgeted for the project must be spent by 2023 to meet requirements, Schroyer said.

Pipe costs two or three times what it did last year and some of the companies that produce it aren’t accepting new orders due to a backlog, he said.

Herman said he is seeing wait times of 12 to 13 weeks for pipe and 27 weeks for hydrants, as well as prices doubling. Only one company the city uses for pipe is still taking orders, Herman added.

Schroyer noted that rising gas prices are also a factor, and it is unclear how the war in Ukraine could impact things going forward.

“We’re rolling the dice on this. Things could be worse next year,” Schroyer said. At this point, he said he is “75/25” for recommending the city doesn’t undertake the East Second Street project this year.

A decision will need to be made once the design is finished, he said.