City of Dunkirk budget numbers in the black

It was good news numbers wise for the city of Dunkirk as the city finished its 2012 budget year with all three of its operating funds ending on the plus side of the ledger for the second straight year.

Common Council’s Fi-nance Committee heard a report from Kevin Wystup from the firm of Johnson Mackowiak & Associates LLP Monday about the audit.

According to the audit, the general fund had an operating surplus of $413,975 for 2012, while 2011’s surplus was $63,051; compared to an operating deficit of $426,486 in 2010.

The water fund had an operating surplus of $156,902 in 2012, compared to a surplus of $70,536 in 2011. In 2010 the water fund had a deficit of $320,328. The wastewater treatment fund had an operating surplus of $663,234 in 2012, while 2011 saw a $489,003 surplus. In 2010 the sewer fund had a deficit of $335,202.

The 2012 general fund reported a budgetary surplus of $422,591 while that figure for 2011 was $158,018.

According to the audit, the city’s net position increased by $1,257,702 as a result of activity in 2012 as compared to an increase of approximately $422,530 as a result of 2011 activity.

The audit shows total cost of services going down in 2012 from 2011 levels, including: police ($4,999,000-$5,033,000; fire department ($3,216,000-$3,322,000; water department ($2,371,000-$2,496,000); and wastewater treatment department ($2,939,000-$3,209,000.

The audit shows some changes from the adopted budget for 2012.

In 2012, the original general fund budget was $14,783,817 while the final total was $15,167,232.

In 2011, the original general fund budget was $14,394,184 while the final total was $15,262,100. In 2010, the budget started at $13,928,419 and ended at $14,519,375. Additional appropriations and encumbrance carryovers made up the differences in starting and ending figures.

First Ward Councilman Michael Michalski chairs council’s finance committee.

“I thought that numbers-wise we came in looking very good. I was happy where we came in where our revenues were exceeding our expenditures in all three funds, so that part I was happy with,” he said of the report. “As far as any recommendations or changes that need to be made, I believe we took the first step with changes we made in the fiscal affairs office since the first of the year.”

Michalski was referring to the appointment of Fiscal Affairs Officer Rich Halas in January.

“I don’t think there’s anything really new there that we haven’t seen in the past but I think we have a better handle on how to correct those issues going forward.”

One area of concern in the report and during the meeting was the posting of information in a timely manner, an issue attributed somewhat to an unfilled position in the treasurer’s office. Michalski said there was a period of time the slot had to be kept open due to provisions in the union contract covering the position.

“I think it’s something the council is going to have to look at,” Michalski explained. “I really think right now that ball is in the mayor’s court as far as replacing. … If the position gets to the point where it’s affecting city operations, and it looks like we’re beginning to see that because it’s being noted on the audit, if council has to step in and take some actions that’s what we’ll have to do. But at this point I see it as being something that’s going to fall under the auspices of the mayor.”

Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak said the city is doing better than last year but there are issues to be addressed.

“We are still having to work on repayment from funds II and III that were interfund transfers all these years. It always goes back down to the idea that the incremental increases that should have occurred through the years so that it would not be painful were not done,” she said. “Now, when increases are made it seems painful, but it’s something that has to be addressed. Other than that we seem to be in a more positive state that we were last year.”

Kiyak was asked what she attributed the improvement to.

“Perhaps better budgeting, I’d like to think that. I’d like to think that maybe we’re all paying attention a little bit more and we’re addressing the problems as they’re coming up and not pushing issues to the side,” she replied. “I honestly don’t know enough about the overall budget and how it works to give you a definitive answer. Like everyone else, I’m still learning. I don’t have a degree in accounting so I’m making a concerted effort to understand this better so that I can have something to say that helps it in a positive fashion.”

The 71-page report is available on the city’s website,

Send comments to