Let the music play: City defends events schedule amid fiscal crunch

Submitted photo Dunkirk’s Music on the Pier has been a tradition for nearly two decades. Expenses for the events are not part of the city budget.

The city of Dunkirk is defending its festivals and events schedule as it deals with a fiscal crisis.

“A lot of people don’t understand, the only thing we get funded from the city is the (Independence Day) fireworks,” city festivals and events coordinator Ryan Hall said. Those cost about $35,000 and the city offers $30,000 for the event, he said.

Dunkirk’s festivals and events get 100% of income through vendor fees and corporate sponsorships, Hall said. That amounted to $103,000 last year, he said. The festival outfit also gets money from a beverage tent it runs at many of the events.

“We’ve added so many new events because I’ve been able to get more sponsors,” he said. There are around 35 sponsors now.

“I want the public to understand we don’t get (anything) from the city. We don’t even get a city truck,” Hall said. “If we didn’t get sponsorships, we wouldn’t have events. The taxpayer’s money is really not going into festivals.”

Festivals and music also are held in portions of Memorial Park during the summer.

However, a potential indirect cost is overtime for police. Mayor Kate Wdowiasz addressed that issue at a Common Council meeting Tuesday. She was responding to a question from Councilmember Abigail Yerico about how the city would pay for police overtime amid its fiscal crisis.

“We’re asking some of our staff members to flex their schedules and work outside of their normal scheduled business hours to cover this without overtime,” Wdowiasz said

Yerico responded, “You’re asking or you’re requiring it?”

“I’m not requiring anything. … I would hope they would understand that we are in a serious financial position here and they would be willing to work with us,” Wdowiasz said.

“I agree, but I’m just saying, if they’re not, how can we allow (festivals and events) to take place when we can’t afford to pay them?” Yerico said.

“We’ll deal with that,” the mayor said. “I’ve already spoken to the chief (David Ortolano) about this.”


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