Oil City Council hears bonds sale ‘did very well’

During Oil City Council’s meeting Thursday, the panel heard an update on the sale of bonds and approved a resolution declaring a disaster emergency in Oil City due to recent water damage to Wyllis Street and Bissell Avenue.

City manager Mark Schroyer told city council that all the city’s bonds have all been sold and they “did very well.” He said the city saved more money than projected due to lower interest rates.

The city should receive the proceeds from the bonds sale Aug. 19, Schroyer said.

By refinancing the city’s debt of $14 million and borrowing an additional $3 million for capital projects through a sale of bonds, the city was projected to save $900,000, but they saw $1.241 million in savings due to lower interest rates, Schroyer said.

“Overall it was a great deal for the citizens and city,” Schroyer said.

Schroyer said the money, around $3 million the city borrowed on top of refinancing city debt, must be spent in its entirety in three years.

The funds will be used for several projects including the renovation of City Hall, work on East Second Street, and maybe a river line project, Schroyer said.

In April, a lengthy discussion about the future of City Hall began when Schroyer talked about repair costs.

Schroyer laid out three options for the council – renovate the existing building, move to another location or construct a new building.

In other news, Wyllis Street and Bissell Avenue are in need of further emergency repairs, leading the council to approve a resolution declaring a disaster emergency in Oil City.

Schroyer explained that recent rains in the last month caused water lines to rupture on Wyllis Street and Bissell Avenue.

On June 29, heavy rains filled combined sewer lines, causing them to rupture and heave the pavement between West First and West Third streets, according to the resolution.

City crews worked from late afternoon on June 29 to 4 a.m. on July 1 to make the bulk of the repairs on Wyllis Street, the resolution notes.

About two weeks later on July 13, another severe storm came through Oil City causing “major damage” to pipes on Bissell Avenue, the resolution said.

This time, city crews worked from the afternoon of July 13 to the late afternoon of July 15 to make repairs, the resolution notes.

The damage to the pavement was so severe that the streets need to be repaved as soon as possible and the paving cannot wait to be put out to bid with other streets the city is looking to pave, Schroyer said.

He added by declaring a disaster emergency the city is allowed by law to expedite fixing Wyllis Street and Bissell Avenue.

Weather permitting, milling on Wyllis and Bissell should begin Aug. 2 and last two or three days, Schroyer said.

“Then paving should be wrapping up 7 to 10 days after the milling,” Schroyer said.

He added that 20 to 40 feet of pipe need to be replaced on Wyllis before the milling begins and it is hard to get materials right now, but he thinks they will be OK and ready to mill by Aug. 2.

The milling and paving will cost about $140,000, Schroyer said. He added that they have two bids in from reputable contractors that are close to the same price, so they are evaluating who to give the contract to.

In other matters, Schroyer said that the city was rescinding its offer of employment in the police department to Stephen Phipps and Joshua Long.

At their meeting on June 10 council approved the hiring of Phipps and Long as police officers in the Oil City police department. The two men were scheduled to begin working as police officers when they finished police academy in mid-July.

During public comment at the next Oil City council meeting, on June 24, a citizen requested that the council void and cancel the two hires, citing the fact that both men were 20 when they applied for the positions.

City regulations, the citizen said, require officers to reach age 21 prior to application.

After looking into the matter and finding it was true that the applicants must be at least 21 years of age, the council voted Thursday to rescind the two offers of employment.

Schroyer said the city will readvertise the position and “start the process over again.”