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‘Renegade’ council puts itself first again

I have some major issues as outlined by the treasurer and fiscal affairs officer on the council changes to the 2022 budget. This current council majority has decided against taking the advice of the paid experts from the city.

The decision to pull out the garbage and refuse from the general fund is without thought or planning. The fiscal affairs officer as well as the treasurer carefully explained the downside of starting a new fund. Since the new fund hasn’t been planned for, there is no money in the fund until at least March.

How does the council majority plan of funding the line which starts out at zero for the first three months? The council majority apparently didn’t work on inventing a new fund in collaboration with anyone, otherwise this basic problem would have been accounted for.

According to the Marsha Beach, fiscal affairs officer, the council changes under reported the true costs of Garbage and Refuge, leaving out basic costs such as insurance and benefits of the workers. The council was informed of this last year. It is obvious that creating a separate fund will not be a $9 per quarter reduction in the tipping fee as Councilman Don Williams reports. Homeowners will be paying what this Council Majority didn’t account for.

Another big question mark is the Fund for the Boardwalk. There was no real identified purpose of the separate fund. Councilwoman Nancy Nichols talked about the fund will allow repairs to be completed at the Boardwalk, but as the Mayor Wilfred Rosas pointed out that a separate fund will probably result in Boardwalk tenants have their rents increased by an unknown quantity.

There is presently is zero dollars in that fund as of Jan. 1 as well. The city will need to be compensated for the loans created by building the Boardwalk which was paid out of the general fund. Separating these funds unnecessarily ties up money and means that the fund lines themselves need to be increased to account for other costs as well as the fixed costs. The council cut $225,000 from the infrastructure and arterial maintenance fund. This cut will result in the city further neglecting street paving. Most residents want more money being spent on road repair.

It is shocking that the council member in charge of the Finance Committee, said he was completely unaware of these changes to the Mayor’s until the Friday before the council meeting. He received his Council meeting packet, and that was how the Council Majority informed the Chair of the Finance Committee of the changes to the Budget proposed by the mayor. I guess this is what Councilman Williams sees transparency. Council Member Bamonto quickly found gapping holes in the Council budget adjustments when he simply asked Beach and Mark Woods for their comments on the budget changes. I wonder who helped these fiscal wizards come up with this scheme. It is my sincere hope that after hearing about these issues from the paid experts, the renegade council members will see fit to make the necessary amendments or simply not override the mayor’s veto of the budget.

Next, we have the issue of the council member other than Council Member Bamonto voted to give themselves hazard pay. Please identify the hazards the council faced? The Department of Public Works, firefighters, police and front-line office workers who came to work and were exposed to the public on a daily or weekly basis.

Council members Williams and Nancy Nichols rightly identified what the city workers continued to do during the pandemic. None of what they identified was a job done by a council member. Some of the office staff were paid to stay home while others took turns coming to work.

Please again identify what the council members did to earn hazard pay? The answer is simple, they are hiding the fact that they decided to award themselves a portion equal to those who were exposed to the hazards related to COVID. Unbelievably their scheme included cutting out workers including I believe two police who worked at the heart of the pandemic, before there was even a vaccine to mitigate the risk of getting COVID, but subsequently retired.

Councilwoman Nichols said they were deserving because two of the council caught COVID. She really doesn’t get it. They didn’t get COVID as a function of their city job. Typical Politics over People by Councilman Williams and those following his lead.

Ned Divine is a Dunkirk resident.

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