Fourth Ward city council candidate Marie Schrantz Damico met with supporters at a recent fundraiser. "The support I've received from family, friends and city residents has been beyond my expectations. My message of transparency in government with open, honest and respectful communication has resonated with voters. People like the progress that has been taking place and they want to see it continue but there is also concern regarding how the average homeowner is treated by some members of city government." Damico reminded voters that she is registered as independent and is not a member of either major political party, seeking the council position only to represent what's best for residents and the city.
In her message that evening, Damico shared with supporters that in addition to maintaining the advances Dunkirk is experiencing in development, work must also focus on cutting costs within the city. "Residents cannot afford to bear the burden of continued tax and fee increases. We must look at every avenue to maintain service levels while easing the burden on homeowners," she said.
Damico spoke about the possibility of shared service delivery as a method of reducing costs and cited her opponent's view from the recent League of Women Voters forum as opposite to that goal. "In discussing concerns regarding the condition of housing within the city, my opponent immediately said that she supported hiring additional staff to enforce the housing laws already on the books. This obviously won't help us reduce our costs at all but instead will expand the city workforce," she said.
Damico supports the idea of reviewing current city housing statutes and working with the building inspector's office to determine what the barriers are to enforcement but believes that all avenues must be pursued, especially shared services, before any additional staff is hired by the city. "There's just too much overall government in this state and in this region already," she said.
Water treatment is an area which may lend itself to sharing or consolidating services. "Several communities in the area are facing costly upgrades to their water filtration systems. Consolidating this service may reduce the total amount needing to be invested and also spread that cost over a broader range of taxpayers thus making the improvements even more affordable," she said.
Seven area municipalities have joined together to commission a study to determine the benefits and liabilities of such a plan. "I eagerly await the results of this study and am hopeful this really provides an opportunity for Dunkirk to join surrounding communities in a true effort of regionalization of services," she said.
Damico thanked supporters for choosing to remain in Dunkirk and encouraged them to continue to work toward improving our city. She reminded them of the importance of voting on Tuesday and asked them to get family and friends to the polls as well.
Damico is supported by the Republican Party and is running on the Property Rights line.