Contractor makes deal city can’t refuse

For some projects, they just can’t wait any longer. For this reason and a good deal presented by a contractor, the city of Dunkirk Common Council decided to move forward on roof repair of several municipal buildings.

Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas said he was approached by the owner of A. W. Farrell & Son Inc. with an offer to help the city. After consideration of the neglect of some city-owned buildings, Rosas contacted Mr. Farrell to see what could be done.

The agreement that Farrell would repair the roofs at City Hall, the Department of Public Works facility on Lucas Avenue and the Dunkirk Historical Museum at an approximate cost of $164,000 with 10-year, zero-percent financing was put to a resolution Tuesday.

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Third Ward Councilman Adelino Gonzalez expressed his concern that the city was not going out to bid on the project. Rosas assured the Common Council that Attorney Sean Connolly checked the legality of the action.

“It would normally go out to bid, but the Common Council has sole discretion over whether a project goes out to bid particularly in terms of management of municipal property,” Connolly said.

Rosas noted bidding would also add time to the project, pushing back the time work can be done this summer.

However, Gonzalez’s was not the only concern. Resident Mike Civilletto expressed concern that the city would spend money to repair the historical museum’s roof when it is part of the historical society’s agreement that it is responsible for repairs. He said is unaware of fundraisers for the roof repair and the historical society has refused options to move in the past.

Resident and Historical Society member Ryan Corbett said while Civilletto may have a point that the building does not work for the museum’s purpose, the new roof is still needed.

“He was a past president, so he knows what happens there on a yearly basis, a monthly basis, a daily basis and what we go through just to keep the doors open there and it has been an immense struggle. … He is right on one thing: that building does not suit our needs, but if we can fix that building so we can stay there for a few more years until we find a better option, that’s where we have to go right now. … We have put our heart and soul into that building and into that historical society, trying to preserve the history of Dunkirk and we do the best with what we have. Hopefully, with your help, we can continue to do that,” he added.

DPW Director agreed all of these projects need to be done.

“I went on the tour with Mr. Farrell. The historical society is one of the buildings. That roof is in extremely, extremely bad condition. It is leaking all over the place over there. They have tarps covering up historical artifacts of the city right now. They want to move stuff out of the building because it leaks so bad over there. At the Lucas Avenue building we had one of our employees fall and get hurt. He just got back from workman’s comp. … The other spot is obviously city hall. You can see (in the conference room) and the bathrooms where it’s seeping through the mortar joints and causing a lot of these issues. What he’s proposing is a major, major upgrade for us,” he explained.

Councilman-at-Large Andy Woloszyn commented that whether or not the city is responsible now, it will be soon if the repairs are not made and it will likely cost more later.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Stacy Szukala clarified that the approximate yearly payment will be $16,400 and that will be taken out of contingency for 2017, but designated to a budget line in future years. She also noted the overall price will go up if Council asks Farrell to repair other buildings’ roofs like the fire department.

“I’m not sure what kind of example we would be setting as elected officials if we let one of our city properties which has been a problem for quite some time. Even if the historical society ends up moving two years, three years down the road, that is still a city-owned property that we need to maintain, whether we find another use for it or put it on the market, it’s still our responsibility that we do ours before we ask other homeowners and businesses to do theirs. So, I commend the mayor for coming up with a plan because in the eight years I’ve been on the Council we haven’t been able to address the roofs,” Szukala added.

In the end, Resolution 30 was passed unanimously with Second Ward Councilman Marty Bamonto absent.

Rosas said he is grateful for Farrell’s offer and work will begin as the contractor’s schedule allows. He said he will also meet with the historical society soon to discuss what it can contribute to the repair.