Scrutiny of Mayor Anthony J. Dolce's proposed 2013 city budget is set to officially begin. Common Council has scheduled three lengthy review sessions in October, the first of which begins Friday at 9 a.m. in City Hall's second floor conference room.
Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak spoke about the sessions during Tuesday's council meeting.
"Although these meetings are open to the public they are not intended for public discussion. According to the City Charter, the opportunity for public comment must take place on or before Nov. 15, 2012," she stated. "I would like to suggest we hold a public hearing right before the next council meeting, Nov. 5, at 5 o'clock."
OBSERVER Photo by Gib Snyder
Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak suggested a date for council’s public hearing on Mayor Anthony J. Dolce’s proposed budget for 2013. The rest of council agreed and the meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on Nov. 5.
A motion was made and passed to set the required hearing as Kiyak requested. The meeting was previously moved from its usual first Tuesday of the month due to Nov. 6 being Election Day.
Council did comment on the plan.
First Ward Councilman Michael Michalski wanted to know about the schedule of future NRG Dunkirk PILOT payments, given the $740,000 reduction in 2013 from the 2012 figure.
"I think we need to look past this year for the upcoming years," he stated.
Dolce said the PILOT payments schedule would be provided to council members.
"It does start to slowly go back up next year," he added.
Second Ward Councilman William Rivera and Third Ward Councilman Adelino Gonzalez were both encouraged by what they had seen so far.
Rivera said Dolce did "better than I thought that we would in terms of trying to figure this all out."
Gonzalez also said Dolce's proposal was better than expected.
"I thought it was going to be a little more to the community ... In lieu of the fact of the situation with NRG, it's the best that can be done at this time," Gonzalez stated. "So, thank you, mayor."
Several resolutions passed had budget ramifications, although most concerned relatively small numbers.
Resolution 84-2012 authorized the city to add $79,000 from a temporary Fund I loan to the $56,000 appropriated in February 2011 for the next phase of work on the bike path project. It also committed the city to pay 100 percent of the non-federal costs of the $449,950 project.
Rivera asked for the start date for Phase II of the bike path project.
Department of Public Works Director Tony Gugino said the bids would be opened this week.
"We'll let the bids shortly thereafter and it will be one of those situations where once we review the bid specs and then award whoever the contractor is, we're going to give them the option to do some pre-emptive construction work prior to winter; if weather permits for things like tree removal or whatever," Gugino explained. "Construction date it has to be completed, I believe, by Aug. 13 of next year."
The city's total payment for Phase II will be either $4,000 or $16,000, depending on reimbursement levels, according to Gugino, who added Marchiselli Fund monies will not be released until the project is complete.
The city committed $33,750 as its initial-period funding for the Dunkirk AL Tech Area Project's Step 2 which will deal with the former plant building on Lucas Avenue. Another $303,750 for the initial phase will come from the New York State Department of State under the Brownfield Opportunity Areas Grant.
Development Director Steve Neratko put in a plug for the funding prior to the vote, saying it is a continuation of work that started in 2008.
"It will be a plan for the site for what contamination is there. It will further look into that. It will look into options at demolition or at cleanup and also for what the site could potentially be used for in the future," he explained. "This will also lead to Step 3, which is when implementation funds are available to actually do the work."
Council approved a lease for three months use of the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds Association Agricultural and Commerce Building. The city will pay for utilities with Dolce reporting he has budgeted $2,000 for that expense. The mayor also reported the city is working with the school district for the use of the high school's auxiliary gym.
The city will receive $1,700 from the state Department of Transportation Resolution for a triangular-shaped parcel of land at the northwest corner of Talcott Street and Franklin Avenue (107 Franklin Ave.) which will be used as part of the Millennium Parkway Project. That project will result in the rebuilding of Talcott Street in the city.
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