Committee hears some decent news

It wasn’t great news, but it wasn’t bad news either that the Dunkirk Common Council Finance Committee heard when it met Monday afternoon in City Hall.

Mayor Anthony J. Dolce, Fiscal Affairs Officer Richard Halas and City Treasurer Mark Woods provided updates on some city projects and the budget to councilmen Michael Michalski (chairman) and Adelino Gonzalez. Councilwoman-at-Large Steph-anie Kiyak is the third member of the committee, but did not attend the meeting.

Halas began by giving an update on engineering work by Hill Engineering Inc. connected with the water treatment consent order, saying the Willowbrook Avenue water tank should be in service by the end of April and filter renovation work should be completed by the end of May at the water treatment plant.

Michalski wanted to know when long-term financing can replace the bond anticipation notes currently financing the work.

“We’ll need to know by January 2015 what our intentions are,” Woods stated.

” … It will either be semi-annual or an annual principal payment; most likely a semi-annual interest payment. … The one-year note we will be looking to go either all of or part of matures March 29, 2015. … We’ll need to plan on a principal and interest payment six months from that point. So the end of September, the beginning of October. … When we get into the 2015 budget preparation we’re going to have to have a pretty much definite idea of what we’re going to do,” Wood continued.

The city will be seeking Requests for Qualifications shortly for insurance coverage as the current contract with Lawley Tradition expires at the end of June. It is not something the city needs to do under state law or the City Charter, but Michalski said another local insurance company wrote to request the opportunity to bid on the insurance. Michalski suggested getting the RFQ as soon as possible as the current policy expires the first week in July.

Several violations of the city’s sewage treatment system were billed, but Dolce said the goal was not to take in more money but to get the problem fixed.

“We’ll be having a followup meeting this week to check the progress on whether or not the situation has been resolved or whether it’s working to get resolved,” Dolce explained. “There will be money coming in, yes, but it won’t be the amount billed out. Whatever that number is, is to-be-determined.”

After some discussion it was determined budget transfers will not occur in a fire department line to cover overtime Chief Keith Ahlstrom warned about at a previous meeting. Ahlstrom said at the time the funds, which were designated for a new vehicle, were needed more elsewhere. Halas called for keeping the funds where they are and watching the overtime line to see if a transfer is needed later in the year.

“We had a meeting. I need this truck, I need this truck. This is going to make it barely a year and now he says he doesn’t need the money?” Gonzalez asked. “So is it true or wasn’t it true? Was he just trying to get some money? I don’t know, sorry I didn’t mean to put it that way.”

As expected, the overtime line for water distribution system work is nearly empty, hitting $12,200 of its $12,500 budget as the city was plagued with waterline leaks this winter

Dolce said seawall design work is continuing, with the hope of completing the seawall work this year.

“We think we’ll be able to get it out to bid hopefully next month, get the bids back in, have council award the bid in June and go from there,” Dolce stated. ” … It will be just enough to get it done this year. … November is very possible but there is a lot you can do in November, in a normal November.”

After the meeting Dolce said once the seawall design work is done the next thing is to get some contracts from the state before going to bid.

“There’s a portion bond and a portion through the state grant, one of the two grants we received specific to just the seawall itself,” he explained.

The committee is scheduled to meet April 21 if necessary.

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