City Council debates walkin resolutions

Walkin resolutions became a hot topic at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting in the city of Dunkirk.

The Dunkirk Land Development Committee (DLDC) met Monday and one issue brought up was in regards to the reinstatement of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Small Business Loan Program. This program, which had run in the city years ago, had been frozen on a federal level due to Dunkirk being out of compliance with the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Therefore $82,808 hasn’t been touched in years and is just collecting interest.

After the funds were finally released, it was found that a resolution had to be filed making the DLDC the appropriate conduit to administer the loan funds appropriately.

“These funds are already funded in the DLDC,” Development Director Rebecca Yanus stated at the workshop prior to the Council meeting Tuesday. “There needed to be a separate recipient agreement between the city and DLDC in order to enact the use of these funds. It was most likely approved a long time ago by the city council, but I can’t find the date or resolution number. We have to do this as a formality.”

Though the council agreed with the resolution itself they had an issue with the fact that it was walked in and not publicized.

“I’m really not a fan of walkins,” First Ward Councilman Don Williams said. “I don’t see the rush to do this. I support the resolution, I just don’t see the point of it being walked in today.”

“I understand Councilman William’s disdain for walkins,” Fourth Ward Councilman Mike Civiletto added. “I think every walkin needs to be looked at in and of itself. And this one, from what’s been explained to us, was by no fault of the department that put it in. We had to do a walkin because there was a specific procedure that wasn’t followed years ago that we’re trying to correct.”

“This wasn’t prefilled, there was no public notice as far as transparency goes,” Third Ward Councilman Shaun Heenan chimed in. “Everyone has their own idea of what’s transparent and what isn’t and for me this was not of an urgent nature. I’m supportive, but it’s the process.”

Councilman-at-large Andy Woloszyn shared that he has approached City Attorney Richard Morrisroe about the angst and the topic of walkin resolutions. He shared that one thing he has recently asked of Morrisroe was a way to stave off this issue.

“I have approached Attorney Morrisroe in hopes that myself and him could sit down and hammer something out going forward, which would have to be either a city code change or a city charter change with the introduction of an actual law that we vote on accepting or declining a walkin resolution and then there is an actual vote on the resolution itself,” Woloszyn stated.

Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas was not too thrilled with the comments from the council, citing that the Development Department and his office has fought hard for a long time to get the funds released for use.

“Since I came into office this council has been inquiring that they want this program to be reinstituted,” Rosas began. “The DLDC board has been requesting that we open up these funds and start this program over again. This formality of the resolution, unfortunately, wasn’t done back then and it wasn’t caught until yesterday (Monday). But the program was running close to 20 years in the city. The funds are not city funds, they are federal funds that we have worked very hard to finally get approved to use these funds once again in our community. We have businesses here that could benefit from these funds and waiting one more day because somebody doesn’t agree with the process I think is wrong for our community. I’m completely against what this council is saying, that the process doesn’t work. The process was that there was a mistake made, prior to this administration coming in.”

A motion was made by Williams to table the resolution, but with the absence of Second Ward Councilman Marty Bamonto, the motion tied 2-2 with Civiletto and Woloszyn voting ‘nay.’ The resolution then passed unanimously 4-0.

“It’s (walkin resolutions) become too much of something that happens at just about every meeting,” Williams told the OBSERVER after the meeting. “Especially when it’s dealing with some money I believe it should be on an agenda that’s published so that everybody knows what we’re going to be talking about at a meeting, not just bring it up.”