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Dunkirk council quietly holds budget talks

OBSERVER file photos A Dunkirk budget meeting was held Saturday in City Hall, but may have violated open meetings law.

The Dunkirk Common Council failed to properly inform the public about a budget meeting it held Saturday.

The media was not informed about the 11 a.m. meeting at City Hall. By state law, the public is supposed to be informed about governmental meetings ahead of time.

The city government calendar on Dunkirk’s website does have the meeting on it, but it’s unclear when it was put on there. It wasn’t listed on Thursday.

Councilman Marty Bamonto said Monday he was under the impression that Councilman-at-Large David Damico would inform others that the meeting was scheduled.

“Somebody dropped the ball. We left the door (to City Hall) open,” Bamonto said.

Councilman Martin Bamonto says “somebody dropped the ball.”

He added that Mayor Wilfred Rosas, a fellow Democrat, also did not know about the meeting and was not invited.

Bamonto said Damico informed him of the meeting Friday morning.

“They came back with some changes to the budget,” he said of the Republicans on the council (Damico, Nancy Nichols and James Stoyle). Myself and Natalie (Luczkowiak, the fifth council member, a Democrat) had no idea what was going on. They gave us a piece of paper, said ‘Here’s X, Y and Z,’ and said ‘Take a look at it.'”

Bamonto reserved further comment on the budget until after today’s council meeting. He said the council will decide to hold one more budget meeting today, and that session will likely be Thursday.

He added that a special meeting will have to be called to pass the budget, as the council is not scheduled to meet again before the spending plan is due.

“Here I’m the chairman of the finance committee, and they went out and did it on their own,” Bamonto said. “When (today) comes there should be something out there clear for the public. Once I get this thing in my hands, I may have some things to say.”

Damico was unavailable for comment Monday. Out of five council persons, his is the only phone number not available on the city website.

Nichols did not return a phone call seeking comment as of Monday afternoon.

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