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

Monday, January 3, 2011


Well it is 2011, a municipal election year.

I’m entering my fourth and final year of my term of office, along with that of Mayor Sonja Hawkins and Councilman Lee Mehlburger.

I will soon have to make a decision on whether to run for reelection, seek some other office or do neither and take life easy. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do. I enjoy being on council and I like to think I’ve served the city well, but I would not call serving on council fun. I find there is a lot of agonizing and a lot of lying awake at night. As with everything, there are times it is more difficult, more frustrating than other times.

Time marches on and we can only guess what 2011 will bring for the city and what challenges for council.

I’m optimistic on several fronts, and concerned on many others.

I remain hopeful that the city will receive Main Street designation and Main Street program funding. I’m also convinced that whether or not we gain the designation, we are going to find a way to have a comparable downtown program.

I think the long dilemma of the Brody Block will come to an end this year. We need to credit the Oil Region Alliance and the Oil City Redevelopment Authority for their willingness to step up to the plate and assume some risk.

Our Waterways Study will soon be completed and it provides a good outline for better utilization of the river and Oil Creek to the economic, recreational and social benefit of the city. The difficulty will be in finding a way to fund some of the suggestions. Of course, much can be done with little or no money, and we will need to quickly implement those low-cost projects. I suspect we can also think a bit outside the box and look to more public/private partnerships to bring some of the other ideas to fruition.

On the concern side of things I’m really worried that the state will push a lot of its budget problems down onto municipalities, notably the state’s cities. I suspect this will come in many ways. Taxpayers need to understand that what they think of as savings at the state level could easily cost them a lot more at the local level.

The city’s long-term financial viability remains a great concern. We must continue to “right size”, but we also need to preserve core functions. I’m sure in coming years there will be never-ending debates as to what is a core function.

There is no shortage of things that council needs to think about.