Dunkirk Can’t shrug spending hike

Silence is never golden when it comes to approving municipal budgets. Fortunately, in the city of Dunkirk, one councilman spoke up regarding passage of a $23 million plan.

Last week, Councilman Shaun Heenan voted no to the unacceptable plan. On the other side, Council members Don Williams Jr., Marty Bamonto, Michael Civiletto and Andrew Woloszyn essentially shrugged their shoulders with a “yes” vote on a budget that is far from acceptable moving forward.

“The city needs to exercise fiscal responsibility,” Heenan said. “In approximately three years, our transitional aid (from New York state) of about $1.6 million will end.”

Dunkirk, whether a majority of city leaders believe it, is facing a tremendous fiscal crisis moving forward. Without nearly $4 million in tax revenue from the now-closed NRG Energy plant along the lakefront, who is going to fill that gap?

The most likely answer: the current taxpayers, who are already overburdened by costs.

Dunkirk’s spending in 2019 increases 5 percent from the current year. This in a city of less than 12,000 residents.

Think about it this way: has life in the city become even slightly better — maybe 5 percent — for current residents? Looking alone at an empty Central Avenue corridor, our answer is not in the positive.