DUNKIRK – Officials questioned $263,221 in outstanding fines by industrial sewage violators during Monday’s meeting of the Dunkirk Common Council’s Finance Committee.
City Attorney Ron Szot said the amount reflects charges that were assessed to violators, who will have an opportunity to be heard on the charges.
City Treasurer Mark Woods said that on average, about $24,000 is collected each year – and that the large amount that is outstanding may not be collected. He also said a shortfall is expected in both the water and wastewater accounts and Council members should address the problems before the end of the year. The losses could lead to higher water and sewer rates for city residents and businesses.
In other matters, Council members discussed the upcoming planning process for the city’s 2015 budget and the participation of department heads.
Members also reviewed several accounts that were over budget for this year.
City Councilwoman Stephanie Kiyak said, “Obviously we are not getting realistic budgets from them [department heads]. It is their duty to submit a budget and follow it.”
Budget Officer Richard Halas said, as a result, all department heads were ordered to be very cautious in their spending in the next few months. He also urged Finance Committee members to set a special meeting to look at major expenditures expected within the next few months.
Kiyak also noted there were serious issues in the Public Works budget and wants Department of Public Works Supervisor Tony Gugino to attend the next finance meeting.
Among the spending items that are higher than expected are natural gas and electricity – about 20 percent higher than anticipated, said committee Chairman Michael Michalski.
The committee, which also reviewed routine budgetary transfers, denied the transfer of $7,975 for repairs to the boiler in City Hall, pending the receipt of a warranty for the parts and labor on the project.
Woods said the city will continue to collect unpaid city tax bills through Thursday. He said a report on the unpaid amount will be provided in about one month.