DUNKIRK – Monday in City Hall, members of the city’s Finance Committee heard about a potential loss of $175,000 in all city funds based on current expenses and revenues. Losses in city revenues were greatest in the water and sewer funds. City Treasurer Mark Woods said that as people conserve water use it is also reducing the revenues in sanitary sewer charges. Residents saw an increase in the minimum sewer rate charge from $22.50 to $45 starting in January 2014. Woods said no other increases in charges have been approved for the current year. The committee members were told to anticipate a further decrease in water and sewer revenues as one of the Carriage House facilities which is located within the city, closes at the end of this year. The facility is part of the closings announced by ConAgra earlier this year. The food processing plants are located in Fredonia and Dunkirk. City Attorney Ron Szot suggested that the committee review sewer rate schedules and consider a local law to increase fees for the last quarter of this year to increase revenues for 2014.
The audit report suggested an additional city employee in the treasurer’s office to keep up with past-due payment collections and other bookkeeping issues. The committee reviewed budget transfers, including an additional $5,000 for police vehicle maintenance and $10,0000 for maintenance of a fire department vehicle.
The group also approved a transfer of $1,300 for new lighting on the bicycle path.
City Budget Officer Richard Halas provided a copy of accounts that are currently over-budget. Finance Committee Chairman Michael Michalski asked members to review the document and send any questions to Halas via email.
Michalski requested that a budget and financial reports be provided for the city’s new seawall replacement project. Halas said a budget should be compiled for each major project, especially when it includes long-term bonding. Members of the city council approved long-term financing for $4.3 million. The project is expected to take two years and will include replacement of the wall and new recreational equipment for Wright Park on the city’s waterfront.
Council members expressed concerns about the financing and projected construction which is scheduled for August.
Michalski suggested that the committee meet again in two weeks and start planning for the 2015 city budget. Councilwoman Stacy Szukala suggested that the committee review all fees charged for recreational activities including picnic table rental, parking and use of parks and pavilions.