The fact that the city of Dunkirk and northern Chautauqua County are on the shores of Lake Erie doesn’t necessarily make getting water from the lake to consumers easy. The tabling of two resolutions on the Common Council’s agenda Tuesday provided a glimpse into the difficulty of getting that water delivered through a north county water district, something that has been under study for some time through the Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corporation.
On July 2, council tabled a resolution that would have authorized the city’s $6,281 CBRDC local share for 2013. On Tuesday, Councilman William J. Rivera moved to take the resolution off the table but did not get a second.
Resolution 50-2013, providing the city’s support for the county to file a Consolidated Funding Application with the state for $38 million to “explore the establishment” of a north county water district, was also tabled.
Prior to considering 50-2013, Councilwoman Stacy Szukala was not ready to vote on it as she still had questions.
“I think I have spoken to many of you in this room about those concerns and questions,” Szukala stated. “It is my intention this evening to table this for further discussion. … We are waiting to get some of those answers back before we proceed.”
Szukala’s move to table was seconded by Councilman William J. Rivera and passed unanimously.
After the meeting, Mayor Anthony J. Dolce did not seem too happy with council tabling the resolution.
“We go over this stuff, we get people to sponsor it, they understand that this grant has nothing, nothing, to do with our concerns about the formation of the district. They are two separate issues, and we’ve gone over this,” he stated. “I have my own concerns about the district, we all do. We’ve had internal battles about whether or not a district can be formed; or whether it should be formed. But this grant has nothing to do with the formation of this district.
“The grant is basically the city of Dunkirk saying, ‘we support going out for a Consolidated Funding Application, that’s it. We tweaked any language that would have the city endorsing the formation of the district. There was a template given, we tweaked it to make sure there is no commitment until we had our questions worked out; plain and simple. We get to the meeting and then they want to table it again.
“The county has offered to basically backstop the whole project. We have concerns about that. We’re the ones with the main water source, we want to make sure that this benefits everybody, ourselves included. Simply going out for the grant that the county would write, all we were doing tonight was supporting that, plain and simple.”
Dolce said while the city still has time to pass the resolution before the Aug. 12 deadline, the county will have to start working on the grant.
Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak said the resolution to pay the city’s CBRDC payment was left tabled because there were still issues and concerns about the city’s role and regionalization going forward.
“It doesn’t mean we’re against regionalization, we just don’t know where we stand at this moment being part of a larger group versus moving forward in a way that we can still move forward without being a part of the group. All of this is going to be hashed out and we plan on doing it at a public meeting,” she explained. “We basically want to make sure that the Dunkirk residents will not experience rate increases, that this is something that will benefit us, and perhaps the idea of costing the city even more. There’s been lots of talk about who would have ownership of the water treatment plant. I think that this is a very important decision that could affect Dunkirk forever.”
She added council wanted to see hard facts and numbers.
“We don’t want just discussion, we want to see numbers, we want to make sure that this is not going to be something that we’re going to regret in the future, so we’d rather be safe than sorry,” Kiyak explained. “We will have that meeting with enough time to still move forward without obstructing the movement.”
The public meeting has been tentatively set for July 30, according to Kiyak.
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