Paving, Halloween hours highlight Council meeting

It was short and sweet as the Dunkirk Common Council held its first October meeting on Tuesday and approved one of two resolutions on the agenda.

Resolution 71-2013 established Halloween trick or treat hours in the city and was passed unanimously while 72-2013, authorizing the city clerks office to enter a copier lease agreement, was tabled with a 5-0 vote.

Council did agree on Halloween hours for trick or treating in the city at 4 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Before the vote on setting Halloween hours from 4 to 8 p.m. Councilwoman Stacy Szukala talked about the resolution and said council felt four hours was not too much.

“If there’s any residents who choose not to participate after a certain (time) we ask you to please turn your light off and don’t participate after that time,” she stated.

“The reason for having it to eight o’clock is that some people put in a lot of time decorating their homes in the evenings … for the older children. I think it was the general discussion that leaving it from 4 to 8 was best,” Szukala continued

Szukala also addressed 72-2013, saying the resolution was discussed in a Finance Committee meeting Monday.

“At the time we didn’t have all the documents we needed to make an informed decision. We felt at this time it would be best to table this resolution, especially since we’re coming up on a new budget season,” she said.

The Dunkirk Midget Football League’s request to reschedule its fundraising on selected city streets to Oct. 19 was introduced by Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak during the meeting and approved. The original date was a rainout.

Mayor Anthony J. Dolce used his meeting time to talk about the harbor and streets. He said the Army Corps of Engineers Brigadier General will visit the city’s harbor on Oct. 7 as part of his tour of Lake Erie dredging needs in Chautauqua County.

Dolce then turned to the city’s hot-in-place paving program which is scheduled to start today, saying the list has been finalized. (See separate story for list).

“I want to give council and the public a heads-up that a change order will be coming through. There’s a few reasons for that to the amount of $20-25,000,” he stated. “The good news is even with that change, which means an addition of streets that are going to get done, we still have over $100,000 left from our 2012 CHIPS money, plus another $200,000, there’s more, of 2013 money, so we’ll have a nice pot we’ll be able to carry over to 2014 and we’ll be able to get a significant amount of streets done. … I believe it will take about a week. … It’s a very unique process, the hot-in-place, so that’s why there’s a lot of tug and pull if you will over a final list.”

Dolce said the change order should be ready for the Oct. 15 council meeting.

After the meeting Dolce said it was slow and steady work on the 2014 budget that is due for council review on Oct. 15. He added he has worked with department heads and it was too soon to tell if the 2014 budget will be tougher than 2013’s.

“We’re not hit with almost a million dollar budget gap like we were going from ’12 to ’13, so there’s still numerous challenges. But we won’t be faced with almost a $1 million budget gap,” he explained. “NRG’s PILOT payment a couple years ago was reduced by $723,000. This year it climbs up approximately $60,000. We have that baseline so now the PILOT starts to go up.”

Dolce said it was too soon to make a prediction about a possible tax rate increase but water rates should stay the same after being upped last year to cover water system upgrades.

“We have some major needs at the wastewater treatment plant now so we’ll be having a meeting in the next week or two on how we’re going to address those,” he added. “The infrastructure is not getting any better so we have to address those needs regardless of our situation.”

Send comments on this story to gsnyder@observertoday.com