The surprise resignation of Titusville City Council member Keith Bromley was accepted at Tuesday’s council meting with no apparent reason for his vacating the role.
According to City Manager Larry Manross, Bromley emailed him earlier in the month to announce the resignation, something which council members Don Frazier and William Adelman said came with no forewarning.
The brief email, which was shown to The Herald, is dated Aug. 8 and contains only a single sentence and a signature from Bromley.
“Effective immediately, I resign my position on council,” the email reads.
Attempts to reach Bromley by The Herald for comment were unsuccessful. Frazier and Adelman said they were unaware Bromley had any plans of resigning and have not received any reasoning from him for the resignation. Manross echoed the sentiments.
Mayor Esther Smith, who attended the meeting by proxy via speaker phone, expressed regret over accepting the resignation.
“I thank him for being a great asset to City Council,” Smith said. “There’s been so much Keith has done in six plus years of him being on council.”
Bromley was a relatively recent addition to the current council roster. He was elected in 2017 to fill the seat of the outgoing Jeff Thomas, who decided not to run for reelection.
However, Bromley was a member of council before that. He first won his seat in 2011 on a write-in campaign, and would hold it until 2015. That year, Bromley attempted to run for the Republican nomination for Crawford County Commissioner. He dropped out of that race and staged another write-in campaign to get on council, but did not garner enough votes.
City Council has 30 days to fill the vacancy left by Bromley. Manross said a notice will be published soon containing the full details on how those interested can apply. Council will vote to accept a new member at their voting meeting next month, on Sept. 24. To qualify, applicants must have resided in the city for 12 months prior to the appointment and be at least 18 years of age.
Airport fuel system
The Titusville Airport will receive a new fueling system, following a unanimous vote by city council.
A bid was awarded to Total Tank Works to the tune of $45,800 to install a new computer system for the fueling station at the airport. The upgrade will allow the use of major credit cards to pay for fuel. Previously, the system only took payment cards given by the airport to pilots.
Manross said the goal of the upgrade is to increase fuel sales at the airport, as well as bringing the system into the modern era. According to Frazier, the computers that previously processed the sales and handled other measures regarding the fuel ran on Windows 95, which led to issues.
“Therefore, you’re on a wing and a prayer,” Frazier said of using the current system. “No pun intended.”
The upgrade is being paid through a grant from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Aviation. The grant requires a 25% match, which will come out of the airport budget. However, the city has received some help from the county, in the form of a $3,000 donation that was included in last year’s Crawford County budget.
Before the project can move forward, it will require approval from the BOA. Manross said he anticipates the upgrade will be finished during the fall.
Council accepted the 2020 minimum municipal obligations, which are coming at a slight increase from last year.
MMOs are the amount the city must contribute to the pension funds for city employees, with the sum determined by the state using data gathered every two years.
The fire pension MMO will rise to $331,265, up from $330,986; the police pension payment will go to $419,430, up from $415,928; and the Public Works MMO went to $51,920.
This is a smaller jump than what the city experienced in 2019. The first MMO increased by $141,667, while police climbed by $76,023.
One major factor that is looked at when determining MMOs are the state of the city’s stock investments. Manross said that the stock market was poor in 2017, which drove the larger jumps in 2019. He hopes that the stronger state of the market will lead to smaller MMOs when the city is next evaluated, which will utilize 2019 stock data.
Other meeting news
Council approved a first reading of an update to its non-uniform pension plan. Manross said the amendment is designed to bring the plan in line with recent Internal Revenue Service laws.
Titusville residents James “Jim” Elliott, speaking during the public comment section of the meeting, asked whether rumors that the city was planning to remove Murdock Boulevard were true. Elliott said, according to “word on the street,” he heard city was going to remove the street to make more room for parking for the Joe M. Ball Residential Hall and the Murdock Townhouses, which the city recently received from the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville. Manross, while not explicitly denying the idea, said he was unaware of any such plans.
The next meeting of Titusville City Council will take place on Sept. 17, at 6 p.m., at the Towne Square Building.
Ray can be reached, by email, at email@example.com.