Rosas, Heenan participate in mayoral debate
Debating the issues
Races are heating up as the area nears election time, now only a few weeks out.
“The city is on a path to what I feel is a large fiscal crisis,” Republican candidate for mayor for the City of Dunkirk Shaun Heenan began at the League of Women Voters Meet the Candidates forum Tuesday, “We will lose nearly 2 million dollars in NRG-related revenue. The city is currently receiving transitional aid from the state, it’s temporary, it has a finite end to it.”
Heenan’s plan has seven highlights: creating a five year budget plan, engaging Common Council and their expertise in all critical decisions on all matters required by the charter and code, reviewing the necessity and qualifications of all discretionary city employment positions and seeking out areas that efficiencies can be realized, improving the transparency of government operations, having a true accounting of all festivals, events and for large events do a cost analysis, streamlining Department of Development operations, focus on projects and development within the downtown area, and planning for the inevitable loss of NRG revenue before the city is in a crisis situation.
“I believe in this city and I’d like each of you to consider all that has happened before making your decision as to who you want to lead our city for the next four years,” current city of Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas, who is running for reelection, replied. “Since coming into office, my administration has brought in more than $12 million in grant funds, updated our water and wastewater treatment plants, secured a 40-year contract with the North County Water District to be the sole supplier of water which resolves in increasing the city’s revenue by close to a half a million dollars, renovated our fire department, police department, city hall, the historical museum, DPW department and facilities, improved our infrastructure, improved our parks, changed our lighting system to LED; which will save over a quarter-of-a-million dollars annually moving forward, renegotiate insurance; saving the city over $350,000 annually, successfully negotiated all four of the city’s union contracts; one of these unions hadn’t had contract for over a decade, improved our water front, improved our pier, the NRG feasibility study has been granted with the prospect of a bright future for this site and all of this has been accomplished without raising taxes, water rates or sewer fees.”
Rosas went on to cite that he has also made connections with the federal, state and county elected officials as well as business leaders in order to secure funding, resources and shared services which will prove beneficial to future development.
The methadone clinic was another topic of the evening brought up for discussion.
“This community is in desperate need of these services, people are dying, as mayor it is my responsibility to handle these type of community issues,” Rosas stated. “I believe that a methadone clinic is needed. As to where we’re going to put it, who the provider is going to be, those are issues that we’re dealing with. The county is more than welcome to be a part of it. I have reached out to the county. This effort started when I first took office my first year. There was an article in the paper regarding a gentleman who’s retired and represented UPMC (Chautauqua). He stated that UPMC could have put one in, but the Hispanics United had been through the approval process, if UPMC could have put one in, why didn’t they?”
“A methadone clinic is not a cure all for the city’s drug epidemic, it’s just one tool of many,” Heenan stated. “The location should be determined after complete input from all our citizens. I know we all feel that we want one, we need one, the biggest thing is where to put one. These are our neighborhoods, I’m also interested in listening to the ideas that UPMC had. This is an important issue, that touches the lives of everybody.”
Coming Thursday: more from Tuesday’s League of Women Voters debate.