DUNKIRK – Questions about last-minute bills added to the water line project in Dunkirk dominated the finance committee meeting held in City Hall on Monday afternoon.
Chairman Michael Michalski and committee members questioned why a bill for $34,800 for a water line replacement was added to the contract. They said that large capital projects at $35,000 or more should be put out for bid and put before the Common Council. Councilwoman Stacy Szukala questioned why Council members were not made aware of the extra work.
Mayor A.J. Dolce said that the work was authorized by his office and by the public works director. He agreed that Council members should have been made aware of the extra costs.
Michalski agreed that a policy on extra work should be put in place. City Finance Director Richard Halas said he was in favor of a policy to keep his office aware of expenses and not having to transfer funds at the last minute.
Funds for the extra 300 feet of water line will be paid with long-term financing and some grant money the city received for improvements.
Reports from City Treasurer Mark Woods showed the city to be below average in spending for the end of November 2013. He said expenses should have been at about 92 percent of the budget, but they were 78 percent. Woods said revenues were on track, with the city expecting a large state-aid payment due in December.
At the suggestion of Halas, the finance committee will also be considering a formal policy on seeking repayment from landowners when an emergency demolition is ordered. City Attorney Ron Szot said liens could be placed against the properties but that the city should use caution, as it may consider ownership of some lots more of a liability than an asset.
Szukala suggested that the policy should also consider the amount of work done in emergency demolition. She said one bill included top soil and grass seed, and she was not sure if that had been necessary to make the property safe.