Common council pushes for updated payment options

City of Dunkirk officials are making 21st century payment options a priority. At the recent Common Council meeting, members questioned when online payments and credit cards will be accepted at city hall and why it has not happened yet.

First Ward Councilman Don Williams Jr. asked if a delayed software update is necessary before the city makes the leap.

Treasurer Mark Woods explained it is more of a staffing issue.

“My office is down one full-time employee. The position has been open for two and a half years and hasn’t been filled,” he said.

Third Ward Councilman Adelino Gonzalez said the city should get on board with this common practice.

“I find it so odd that it has taken us so long to get this credit card issue established in the city of Dunkirk. I pay 99 percent of my bills online. Just about everybody in the world pays their bills online, anyplace. … I don’t know why it’s taken so long,” he said. “I sold the machines before for a credit card company, they supply the training necessary for doing all that, including online. So I don’t know why it takes so long to get that done. We haven’t seen any initiative from your department to get this done. I think that somebody is dragging their feet over there. I understand that you need more personnel over there, that it’s an issue, but I think that it’s way beyond time. We shouldn’t even have to request it at this time.”

Williams added council is considering a resolution to implement credit card and online payments.

“As long as we have everything necessary to do it in the proper, credible manner, we’ll proceed at that time,” Woods responded.

Mayor Willie Rosas told the OBSERVER this is also a priority for him and he has not stood in the way of it happening before now.

“I have never disapproved of him filling the vacancy, in fact, I’ve encouraged him to fill the vacancy. He decided to bring in a former employee that just retired last year on a part-time basis. That’s what he’s been doing to fill those duties, but I have encouraged him to fill the position and make it a full-time position. … I have received calls on this, too. Since I came into office, I have had people come in to meet with me, asking why they can’t pay bills online. Some of them are snowbirds who would like the ability to pay online, even if it costs theme a percent or two more. The same thing with credit cards. I’ve had people come in to pay with credit cards, come upstairs to talk to me about why they can’t pay with a credit card. I agree with them. I think in this day and age we should be able to provide our citizens the opportunity to pay with a credit card and/or online. It’s up to council at this point to drive this to make it happen. I think it will happen. I think our city treasurer will make it happen,” he said.

The Finance Committee will meet today at 4 p.m. in the mayor’s conference room of city hall.