City boat launch change approved

Boaters and fishermen using the city of Dunkirk boat launch will find a different looking operation this season. The city’s long-time system of hiring a harbormaster to run operations is being shelved in favor of a private operator in charge.

On Tuesday, Common Council approved a resolution granting Chadwick Bay Marina Inc. a terminable revocable license agreement to operate the municipal boat launch, harbormaster building (including restrooms) and fish cleaning station from April through October of this year. Chadwick Bay will pay the city $250 per month and will have to be open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Prior to the vote, Councilwoman Stacy Szukala asked Mayor Anthony J. Dolce why the move to the lease instead of keeping a harbormaster.

“We were looking for extended hours and not so much having the responsibility of operating a harbor master’s station. We felt someone more intuitive with that sort of thing could do a better job than the city,” he replied. “What you see before you is us giving someone else an opportunity to run this. … They proposed longer hours, … Monday through Sunday. So we’ll see what happens.”

A monthly report is supposed to be provided, instead of an annual report.

Councilman Michael Michalski said it was for the public’s benefit and the contract did a good job of covering the city. Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak added there will be a money savings, as well as an increase of consistent hours.

After the meeting, Dolce said the city collected about $12,000 in fees in 2013, adding the city will see cost savings from the change of about $4,000-5,000.

“That’s one reason why we did this, but of course the extended hours and more of a presence down there is the main reason,” Dolce said.

Chadwick Bay owner Jeff Gambino was supposed to sign the contract today (Wednesday), according to the mayor.

“There will be bait, tackle, fishing poles, ice, … you will be able to purchase. … Retail will be right there in the station,” Dolce stated. “The other benefit is people like to come in and have their fish taken care of and that’ll be open seven to seven. … With his marina being down, obviously he’ll need a place to work on that, but he retains all the fees anyways in this agreement. He’s looking to make an investment down there, he has invested in the docks and that, so we felt why not? It should be a good fit.”

Dolce said he has received no pushback on the agreement.

“We did an open process and anyone was welcome to bid on it. Mr. Gambino did so and we interviewed him,” he added. “He fulfilled what we we’re looking for and we look forward to seeing how this goes this summer.”

Streets were another subject of concern at the meeting, with Kiyak asking for council to receive a list of the bidding process schedule, a list of streets to be topcoated, milled and topcoated, and hot-in-place and top coated.

“So we can keep the public informed,” she added.

Director of Public Works Tony Gugino said meetings are ongoing with bids by the end of April for streets done last fall under the hot-in-place program and the rest of the bids by the end of May. He said decisions on which streets will be paved will be made based on the inventory and status of streets with input from the mayor and council. Gugino added hot-patching streets began Monday

“On top of that we also have at least five streets dedicated with HUD funding on top of the plan. … That will also get done from previous years, 2012, 2013, so I’m quite excited,” Dolce added.

“I’m sure the public is too,” Kiyak added, before turning to the Lake Front Boulevard seawall and its progress.

Gugino said while the city has been ready to go to bid for three months, the city is waiting on a letter from the state Department of State that will allow the city to go to bid.

“We’re on hold waiting for this documentation. … If we get this letter … we will be allowed then by the state to go and advertise for bids. The plans are ready, the engineers are ready,” he explained, adding he hoped the project could begin in the next two months.

Councilman Adelino Gonzalez was concerned about repair of National Fuel work sites.

“They have a monumental task of remediation, I talk with them daily,” Gugino replied.

“Remediation?” Gonzalez asked.

“Remediating the roads, sidewalks and lawns,” Gugino replied, adding he’s noticed National Fuel having meetings with its contractors. ” … That should be going very quickly now that all the blacktop plants have opened up. … It’s a normal process. … Anything they’ve disrupted … they have to put back to our satisfaction.”

Gugino said the city and National Fuel are coordinating some repair work on East Seventh Street between Washington and Deer streets involving the city replacing a water line.

“I told them to get that line done before we go in and put a water line in. … That’s one of the streets we want to mill and pave,” he explained. ” … They’re putting in all new gas lines, all new infrastructure. … They will take care of it.”

Gonzalez was concerned about warm weather and kids playing and getting hurt. Gugino said concerns should be directed to National Fuel.

“They own up to it,” he added.

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