Councilwoman opposes amount spent on fireworks

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Stacy Szukala

For Fourth Ward Councilwoman Stacy Szukala, the need for road and building repairs stand out brighter than the Independence Day fireworks display. Similar to previous years, she asked her fellow Dunkirk Common Council members to reduce the cost by $5,000.

“I don’t actually remember how many years in a row I have voted no on this, and it’s not because I don’t like the fireworks,” she clarified at the recent council meeting.

Resolution 10 of 2017 would allow the city to contract with Zambelli Fireworks Internationale of New Castle, Pa. for the July 4 fireworks display. The same company has provided this service in recent years to good reviews.

The cost of the service was listed at $30,000.

Szukala wanted to see a portion of that price tag go to other priorities.

“When you’re talking about a $22 million budget, 80 percent of that budget being contractual, benefits and salaries, that we cannot change. Having 20 percent of a budget that we can actually move around and play with is very difficult to make everybody happy with what they want to see done,” she explained. “For the past maybe five or six years now, I have voted ‘no.’ I would like to see us change the amount we spend on fireworks, simply taking it from $30,000 down to $25,000. Saving $5,000, putting it in contingencies or toward road repairs or building repairs in some of our areas is very important to do that. I’m probably the only one voting ‘no’ tonight and that’s OK, but for me I would really like to see us save a little bit of money and put it toward what people expect us to be able to do when we don’t have the money to do so. I can’t support this resolution.”

Mayor Willie Rosas pointed out last year the same amount was budgeted, but Festivals and Special Events Coordinator Hector Rosas was able to raise money to defer over a third of the cost.

“Although there was $30,000 budgeted for the fireworks last year, we were able to solicit over $10,000 for the fireworks. Therefore, less than $20,000 of the city budget funds were used and we anticipate that happening again,” he said.

When it came to a vote, Szukala was the sole ‘no’ cast.

The meeting ended with the council going into executive session to discuss the acquisition or sale of real estate property.

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