The Dunkirk Common Council has stepped on board with a proposal to have Chautauqua County be the lead applicant in a Consolidated Funding Application seeking grant money to help fund a $38 million effort to create a north county water district.
A resolution doing just that was tabled July 16 as council sought more information, holding an informational meeting July 30 for that purpose. At that time, council members said they wanted to see the application before giving their approval.
Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak said the city received a copy of the application Monday afternoon, after which she and Fourth Ward Councilwo-man Stacy Szukala found answers to their questions.
OBSERVER Photo by Gib Snyder
First Ward Councilman Michael Michalski (left) asks a question as Second Ward Councilman William J. Rivera checks some paperwork during Monday’s Common Council meeting.
"Stacy was able to contact (Chadwick Bay Region-al Development Corpora-tion Executive Director Kathy Tampio) and Kathy reaffirmed with us the application, between today and its submittal on Aug. 12, can be changed many times. ... We will be working with them, probably a few more times, before that application is submitted," Kiyak stated before the vote.
Mayor Anthony J. Dolce talked about the resolution during his report time.
"I think there were enough questions answered to proceed with that portion of it. ... I'm hopeful we can see this through," he stated. "I share in many of council's concerns in how this district can form, or even will form. I believe that it's imperative that we continue the dialogue and see what can arise from that."
The application resolution was removed from the table and passed unanimously after it was amended.
Before the vote, Szukala said both she and Kiyak had spent the afternoon reading the grant application and talking about it with other council members, City Attorney Ron Szot and Tampio. Szukala also said she officially requested from Tampio that the Wendell report only be used as reference work as it is out of date.
"I don't think it can get any more simple than the wording we are going to pass this evening, and with that I can support looking for grant dollars and moving forward," she concluded.
Second Ward Councilman William J. Rivera said he voted to table the resolution originally because there were questions and he wanted to have unanimous support.
"Hopefully, we've got our information and hopefully, we can move forward," he said.
Kiyak then read statements providing a history of the resolution, the informational meeting, and thanking those involved. She added the details of a water district have yet to be defined and presented to potential participants.
"As elected officials, we have a duty and an obligation to the residents of Dunkirk to insure our due diligence on their behalf and to insure that a more cost-effective solution for the tax and ratepayers of Dunkirk is in the works," Kiyak stated. "Regionalization is a goal that we all support and we must be prudent to the point of caution as the process moves forward."
After the meeting, Dolce was asked about the vote on the grant application.
"I'm very excited. Again, I had my share of concerns on how the water district would take shape but I feel that these resolutions were strongly needed in order to keep pushing forward," he replied.
Dolce, who admitted being frustrated at the last meeting, was asked if council is nitpicking too much.
"Before the last council meeting we did have the template for the county's resolution tweaked. It was altered at that point and then it was further altered for this meeting, the point being it was passed in time," he replied. "They didn't hold up the process but it could have been done two weeks ago."
The other resolution involving the city and CBRDC concerned the city's 2013 per capita annual payment, which was tabled July 2 and failed to get a second to remove it from the table for a vote on July 16. On Monday, there were three votes authorizing the $6,281.50 payment. Councilman Michael Michalski made the motion to remove from the table, it was seconded by Councilman Adelino Gonzalez and approved by a 3-2 vote with Rivera providing the third vote. The three provided the necessary yes votes, as both Kiyak and Szukala voted against both the motion to remove and the resolution.
Before the vote, Michalski said he had initial reservations on the payments but did some research on CBRDC's website and was satisfied with what he found.
"I wanted to make sure that most of this money was actually going toward the development and not so much toward administrative expenses," he explained. "Looking this up I feel comfortable in supporting this resolution tonight."
Szukala said she had no problems making the CBRDC payment.
"I just don't feel that it's a pressing need to pay that today. The money is in the budget. We understand that it's been earmarked for that, but I would like for myself to see more progress for the group in the next few months, to see how all the grant applications are going and how the group can go forward as a whole with the variables with other communities," she explained. "So for me, I would have preferred to wait, hold on to the money and just make the payment later on."
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