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Town applies for three grants

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen Dunkirk Town Supervisor Priscilla Penfold discussed the application process for grants at a recent Town Board meeting. “It costs money to get a grant,” Penfold said.

The Town of Dunkirk is spending money now with the hope of saving much more down the line.

Town Supervisor Priscilla Penfold and Town Councilman Phil Leone recently met with Municipal Solutions to discuss grant funding opportunities. The Town is seeking assistance with updating or constructing a new Town Hall and Court, as well as substantial water system upgrades throughout the Town.

At its recent Board meeting, the Town Board accepted a proposal from Municipal Solutions to apply for three grants: the Community Development Block Grant at an application fee of $5,900; the Water Infrastructure Improvement Grant at an application fee of $1,800; and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund application at a cost of $4,900. Together, the three applications combine for a minimum fee to the Town of $12,600.

“It costs money to get a grant,” Penfold said. “… I know it’s expensive, but I know that’s how you get grants.”

After receiving a quote from Muck Electric for electrical work at the current Town Hall in the amount of $4,958.75, the Town Board elected not to move forward with Muck Electric with the suggested upgrades. The cost was deemed prohibitive because of the uncertainty of the building long-term.

“There are a lot of issues in this building. I’d hate to spend $5,000 on the electric system when we don’t know what direction we’re going in yet,” Penfold said.

Instead, Town Councilman Bob Price, a formerly licensed electrician prior to his retirement from contracting work, will evaluate the needs of the Town Hall and Court. The Town will evaluate options to insure Price to be able to do the work himself.

“We have someone that has the experience and the knowledge who is willing to do it. I think it’s a fiscally responsible path for the Town of Dunkirk,” said Dunkirk Town Council member Shari Miller.

The Town Board also set a fee schedule for short-term rental properties legally operating in the Town. Short-term rentals are permitted in every zoning district other than the Residential-1 district. The one-time registration fee was set at $500, with a renewal fee of $150 and a re-inspection fee of $150, with unanimous approval from the Board.

The Town Board also anticipates a resolution on changes to the Zoning Book at the next monthly meeting, with further discussion on the Employee Handbook expected, as well.

Additionally, a request to abandon two “paper streets” in the Town, upon the recommendation of Highway Superintendent Jeff Feinen, was approved by the Town Board. The Town Board also approved the bid from Northland Contracting, of Dunkirk, for a snowplow at a cost of $8,200 from the Town’s Highway Department savings account.

The Town also received a letter from Assemblyman Andy Goodell commending the Town Board for adopting a resolution in opposition of the placement of wind turbines in Lake Erie. In the letter, Goodell said, “These windmills make no environmental or economical sense.” He vowed to continue his opposition to the placement of windmills in Lake Erie.

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