It will have its third owner since 2010, but don't look for much to change with the former Bertges property located on the city of Dunkirk harborfront.
Dunkirk Mayor Anthony J. Dolce told a meeting of Common Council's Finance Committee on Monday that DLDC Real Property LLC, a limited liability corporation that is a subsidiary of the Dunkirk Local Develop-ment Corporation, will be transferring the property to the city shortly. The reason: the DLDC does not have the money to make a $50,000 payment due in September.
"As you know, we cannot use HUD dollars to make our yearly payment," Dolce began. "We have a $50,000 payment due in mid September. We still owe approximately $250,000 on the property. So that really didn't leave us with a lot of options. What we're looking at is transferring the property to the city so we can put it in a much more reasonable payment schedule for us to make.
OBSERVER File Photo
The former Bertges property is pictured in summer 2012.
"It's going to take us some time to do that, so that left us with the scenario of how do we make our $50,000 payment on time for mid September? So we looked in the budget. The good news, there was $30,000 within the Development Department."
Dolce explained the department has not spent as much as was budgeted.
"The best option with all of us sitting down, meeting, talking, was to take the other $20,000 out of contingencies to get us through this year to make that $50,000 payment," he stated. "It still leaves us with an issue coming up with another $200,000 for the rest of this property. So we're going to ... transfer the property into the city's hands, possibly doing a short-term, five-year bond."
Dolce said it would be a lengthy process to move the property to city ownership.
"The other thing wrinkle is the DEC is still completing the cleanup of the site," the mayor continued. "So with that comes a bill. We don't know what that bill is going to be, but there will be one, so we have to factor all that in."
Dolce said under the current terms the DLDC has, one more $50,000 payment and then a final payment of $150,000 the following year are scheduled. Dolce explained the cleanup cost would be added into what the city has to pay for the Bertges site.
Fourth Ward Councilwoman Stacy Szukala asked if a buyer for the property is being sought. Dolce replied that at this point it is hard to market the property when the city does not know its costs for the property. Dolce added the cleanup should be done soon as there is only a small section left to do.
The transfer of funds would leave $28,000 in the city's Fund I contingencies line. Without Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak present the committee did not have enough members on hand to approve the transfer for the next meeting. Kiyak will be presented the proposal for her approval before the full council meets on Sept. 3.
First Ward Councilman Michael Michalski chairs the Finance committee and noted there was not much choice.
"We're obligated as per the note and mortgage that we have to pay this money," he added.
The DLDC began the process of purchasing the Bertges property late in 2009 and completed the deal in 2010 for some $525,000. A two-company submission from Krog Corp. and Benchmark Environmental Engineering & Science to develop the property was accepted by the DLDC in December 2010, but the developers dropped their efforts in July 2012. The property is currently used for parking and is in the final stage of a cleanup by the state's Department of Environmental Conservation.