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In silence, council passes $24M budget at meeting

You could see what was happening at the Dunkirk Common Council meeting, but you could not hear it.

Audio difficulties by the Dunkirk Access Channel led to a lack of transparency at the meeting where members unanimously passed changes to the $24 million budget for 2021.There were a total of 12 line item changes and of those four are being looked at by Mayor Wilfred Rosas to be vetoed.

“I can veto on a line-by-line basis and there are a few items that I feel strongly against,” Rosas told the OBSERVER.

One item he’s looking to veto is the $25,000 subtraction of the department head in the law department. Current city attorney Richard Morrisroe would be knocked down to $45,000. He was budgeted at $62,000 in 2020 and though the line has long been $70,000 the council is looking to move those funds back into contingency. The council did state at a budget review meeting that funds can be moved back to the department head line if needed to hire a new attorney if Morrisroe chooses to leave.

Another item being vetoed is the DLDC allotment subtraction of $45,000.

“$30,000 of that is the fireworks for the city of Dunkirk. We run it through DLDC because then we don’t have to bid out our fireworks display,” Rosas said. “The other $15,000 covers taxes and insurances for Dunkirk owned properties. With the elimination of this allotment the city loses their fireworks show and the properties will be foreclosed on.”

The third line being vetoed is the $21,000 development department part-time position.

“This individual helps with the festivals and special events in the city, this loss could hurt those events,” Rosas stated.

And lastly Rosas is looking at vetoing the $10,000 that the council is looking to budget to fund outside legal counsel.

“This could set a precedent, the idea of using taxpayer money to hire an outside attorney when the city already retains an attorney isn’t a good practice, other departments could start looking at that as an option,” Rosas said.

The mayor has 10 days of which to formally enter his vetoes and is anticipated to do so soon. Following that the council will then have the right to override his vetoes as they see fit.

The next Common Council meeting will be on Dec. 15 at 5:30 p.m.

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