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Drastic budget cuts loom in city

The city of Dunkirk’s 2021 budget could see decreases of 33% in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the loss of revenues from sales tax and elsewhere not much is know until the books are cracked open and each budget line gone over with a fine-toothed comb.

“We’re projecting a decrease,” said Second Ward Councilman Marty Bamonto. “We’re going to have to look hard at everything and hope that it’ll all even out.”

Councilman-at-large Paul VanDenVouver is expecting to see cuts on the horizon while Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas stated that adjustments are being made now to ensure that the rest of the year and into next year will go smoothly.

“I’ve talked with members of the unions and they agree that we may have to get more creative with the job titles,” VanDenVouver stated. “Every budget line will have to be looked at. With the PILOT ending for (NRG) at some point and the random hiring throughout the city, the mayor didn’t plan well for this eventuality.”

Rosas concurred that cuts will have to be made and spending has to be down.

“Any purchases of equipment, save for absolute necessaties, are being pushed back to next year,” Rosas shared. “I’ve already alerted Fiscal Affairs Officer Marsha Beach and Treasurer Mark Woods of this issue.”

The 2020 budget for the city of Dunkirk was $24,671,628 — the largest spending plan the lawmakers have ever approved, with a 33% decrease possible that’s going to shave $8,141,637 off of the budget.

Then outgoing Third Ward Councilman Shaun Heenan was the lone dissenter against voting in favor for the budget.

“I cannot vote in favor of this spending plan as it does not address the long term, structural, impending challenges this city is facing,” Heenan had said. “The city is again just kicking the can down the road.”

Budget proceedings are expected to begin earlier than usual in planning for 2021.

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