A major city of Dunkirk business and taxpayer is running at one-third of its capacity. Another major city business - and high water user - is facing an uncertain future in this area. And, according to U.S. Census estimates, the city population has dropped slightly from 2010.
How has Dunkirk's leadership responded for 2013? With a tax increase and major water rate hike for property taxpayers.
Those proposals do not seem to be answers for what is ailing a struggling, shrinking city.
For decades, Dunkirk - especially before this administration - has run government as though maybe not all is not well, but it could be worse. They have put off major projects and have not received assistance from its generously compensated workers when it came to cutting costs.
Today, that remains the case. And as business struggles for survival in the city, especially main employers, the emphasis is on making current residents and users pay more, not less, to fix what is wrong in the city.
Which leads us to the true problem. Why do we keep believing the city - as it is today - is sustainable for the future? It is not growing. It is not welcoming to business and, in typical Dunkirk tradition, continues to punish those who live and do business here by upping taxes and fees.
The most recent proposal - for 2013 - is a $21.9 million budget to run a city of 12,500 residents - or a $1,752 plan per resident.
Mistakes have been made by leaders in the past. We agree. But we cannot dwell on this.
The current issue is how do we move forward. If the current administration cannot put an end to taxing and spending ways in the city of Dunkirk, who will and when will it happen?
And, if it ever does happen, will it be much too late to even matter?