Rules of the Road

The purpose of this blog is to share with you my thoughts on issues pertaining to Oil City and Venango County and to foster discussion.

However, that requires some basic rules. Personal attacks, inappropriate language and venom-filled postings will not be tolerated. Comments will be screened, and if necessary edited, before posting.

Disagreement and a variety of opinions are encouraged, but I ask that it always be in a respectful, positive manner. So fire away, but do so cleanly

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Two Down

Well, here we are in 2010. I have completed my first two years on council.

I think everyone would agree that 2009 was a daunting year. We dealt with the retirement of long-time city manager Tom Rockovich and found Ryan Egleston to replace him. I think we did well.

Council faced a huge budget deficit largely as a result of a 30 percent increase in health insurance costs as it began development of the 2010 budget, and Ryan was thrown into it on his first day on the job. Cuts were made – some only delaying the inevitable such as paving – and taxes were raised to balance the budget. It was something no one wanted to do, but it was what had to be done – at least that’s my take.

Obviously the state of the economy impacts our community just as it does elsewhere. That no doubt will make 2010 equally as troubling from an economic perspective.

We must try to find additional operating efficiencies and perhaps all new ways of delivering services and doing business. Success in that endeavor is not guaranteed. There are no magic wands or pixie dust, nor a pot of gold to be found. I’ve said only half in jest that perhaps the best thing would be to put a line item in the budget of $104 dedicated to the purchase of a Powerball tickets every Wednesday and Saturday.

Still, I firmly believe the city is moving forward. The Main Street Program is advancing rapidly. The Waterways study will be wrapping up. The Arts Revitalization has succeeded in bringing people to Oil City and promises to have much more success. There are many other examples.

It will be an interesting, difficult and exciting time for our two new councilmen, Bill Moon and Venice Lewis, as it will for all of us on council.