County, city refuse to pay contractor more for dock removal

It appears, a company that was seeking nearly $100,000 more money for removing some old steel docks in Dunkirk last year will not get its money.

In March, city officials visited a couple of Chautauqua County Legislature committees and requested $50,000 to pay for some dock removal. The money was going to come from the county’s tourism account.

The Lake Erie Management Commission previously agreed to spend $12,000 to help pay for the docks’ removal. The city thought that’s how much the project would cost. That commission also gets its funding through the county.

Instead, the city received a bill of $107,000. The city requested the county pay another $50,000.

That request to the county was sent back to committee. County officials seemed leery about paying $50,000, especially when they learned that the city of Dunkirk was not going to contribute to the bill.

In April, Dunkirk City Attorney Elliot Raimondo, who began representing the city Jan. 1, said this work has many legal issues.

Raimondo handed out a bid proposal dating back to July 2023 by A&K Marine, which he said was not created by either himself or his predecessor Michael Bobseine. Raimondo said Bobseine became aware of the bid in December, 2023, when the bill for the work was turned in.

Raimondo said in his legal opinion, the proposal should have been legally required to advertise for proposals instead of just having this contractor do the work. The bid proposal was $12,000 a day to remove steel pilings. The pilings were removed last summer and took eight days to do the work.

Raimondo said city officials thought the work would be done in a single day.

In April, Raimondo said if the county agreed to pay the $50,000 to the contractor the city would not pay the balance, because of its financial issues, as well as because there’s no contract.

County officials asked Raimondo to go back to the contractor and negotiate a payment.

During this month’s county legislature’s Audit and Control Committee meeting, Chairman Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point, said he met with Raimondo and Dunkirk Mayor Katie Wdowiasz.

“The city of Dunkirk is now absolutely firm that this expense is not the legal responsibility of the city of Dunkirk. The city of Dunkirk will not be paying any portion of this, regardless whether we provide them financial assistance,” he said.

Because the county was not paying the contractor directly and instead was going to pay the city of Dunkirk, Chagnon said it is his recommendation that the Audit and Control Committee not approve the $50,000 payment.

The committee agreed and officially rejected the resolution. Because it was rejected by the committee, it will not appear at Wednesday’s full legislature committee meeting, unless someone individually sponsors it, which appears unlikely.


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